Film in review: three stars for Bohemian Rhapsody film

Greyson Mize, sports beat lead

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher that follows Queen singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as the British rock band rose to fame in the ’70s and ’80s. Mercury, alongside guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and bass guitarist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) faces the trials and tribulations of making a name for Queen as executives, producers, and the hungry British media stand in their way.

The film has been nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best British Film, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and four Oscar categories. For his performance, Malek has received nominations for the Critics’ Choice Award, and the BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Award for Best Actor. Bohemian Rhapsody won its first awards at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in a drama film. While the film was previously nominated for the LGBT foundation GLAAD’s Best Film Award, the nomination was retracted in light of sexual assault and misconduct accusations against director Bryan Singer.

Much can be said for Malek’s electrifyingly energetic performance in Bohemian Rhapsody. The actor manages not only to portray the British rock star’s incredible stage presence but also to juxtapose it with the quieter, more private nature the singer had outside of the recording studio. Malek’s portrayal is witty and fun and pulls the band together, much like Mercury did.

However, while the film was undeniably enjoyable, it lacked the depth of a biographical film. Instead, the plot comes off as a long string of music videos interrupted by occasional fun facts on Mercury’s life. Because Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor were so closely involved in the production of the film, it was hoped that Bohemian Rhapsody would delve into Mercury’s life in a way biographers had been previously unable to, but ultimately the directors played it safe; producing the film albeit as a good rockumentary, but a rockumentary all the same. Despite the impressive awards and nominations under its belt, Bohemian Rhapsody is the lowest rated Golden Globe winner since 1985.

Ultimately, while Bohemian Rhapsody failed to do its job as a biographical film, Singer and Fletcher still managed to create a compelling movie that has connected with thousands of Queen fans worldwide.