Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

July 13th 1985. Wembley Stadium. Amongst a lineup of some of the greatest musical acts of all time, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon took to the stage – Queen.

It’s a performance that helped solidify them as one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Before this, however, Farrokh Bulsara worked at Heathrow Airport moving luggage from one cart to the next.

Craving something more, something legendary, Farrokh approached the band known as ‘Smile’. The rest, as the expression says, is history.

Amid well-publicized production troubles that saw the director being replaced mid-shoot, you can forgive some of my own skepticism before going into the theatre.

Added to this is also the huge question – how on earth do you tackle such a subject matter? The story of Queen, along with the life of Freddie Mercury, spans decades, all filled with emotion, memories and moments that are now music folklore. Can they do them all justice in 134 minutes? Well, Bohemian Rhapsody gives it a bloody good shot.

With so much ground to cover, little time is wasted as Bohemian Rhapsody thumps through into the formation of Queen with energy similar to that of Mercury’s own performances on stage.

Farrokh Bulsara is left behind as you take a front seat into the creation of Freddie Mercury. Painted as a tragic figure, seeking love and battling loneliness, Bohemian Rhapsody maybe doesn’t dig deep enough but certainly gives you a glimpse into the true man behind the persona.

At the centre of Bohemian Rhapsody is, of course, Remi Malek’s performance of Freddie Mercury. Deserving of all the plaudits, Remi Malek is a tour-de-force of every sense of the phrase.

There’s a self-assurance that comes with Freddie, possibly even cockiness, but yet, the cracks are evident that display a certain sensitivity to the artist. Whichever way the BAFTAs or Academy Awards go, Remi Malek deserves to be in the conversation.

So entrenched in popular culture, you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t know the words to a dozen of Queen’s greatest hits. The joy and soul of their music is on full display in Bohemian Rhapsody.

From the essence that creates the songs to the melodies and anthems that they became known for, this is a true celebration of their music. The performances, although slightly self-indulgent at times, are breathtaking. You’ll be tapping your feet and clapping along in no time at all.

To even broach such a subject as Queen and Freddie Mercury is a brave feat, yet Bohemian Rhapsody accomplishes what it sets out to do. It’s a tribute to one of the greatest musicians and creative geniuses of all time. Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Figaro, Magnificoooo….

By Jordan Barrett

★★★★

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