Rami Malek- Freddie Mercury
Lucy Boynton- Mary Austin
Gwilym Lee- Brian May
Ben Hardy- Roger Taylor
Joe Mazzello- John Deacon
Rami Malek “Will Rock You” in the new rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Farrokh Bulsara, a teen from Zanzibar, Tanzania who moved to London at the age of 17 working at Heathrow Airport but dreamed of becoming a songwriter. Farrokh would spend nights in the clubs listening to bands when he met Brian May and Roger Taylor of the band “Smile”. Smile had just lost their lead singer opening the door for Farrokh with a quick audition to walk in to the role. Farrokh changed his name to Freddie Mercury, Brian found a bass player named John Deacon and changed the name of the band to Queen!
Queen was doing the clubs when Freddie convinced the boys to sell their bus and record an album. Queens self-titled first album featured the hit song “Keep Yourself Alive” and got the band a meeting with John Reid (Aiden Gillen), a music manager that handled Elton John and was able to get them a deal with EMI records. Following the success of the third album “Sheer Heart Attack” and the hit single “Killer Queen” the band was booked on a tour of the United States.
Queen refused to be a “cookie cutter” rock band and refused to put out the same songs the record company wanted. Brian May wanted to experiment with the band’s sound in the studio while Freddie was a perfectionist mixing the album. The band met with EMI executive Ray Foster (Mike Myers) with their next album “A Night at the Opera” that featured the 6-minute masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody” that the band wanted to release as the single. Foster explained that no BBC stations will play a song over 3 minutes and kids won’t be banging their heads to this (throwback to Wayne’s World). Freddie told Foster it was Bohemian Rhapsod or they walk, and he would always be known as “the man who lost Queen!” This was one of the best scenes in the film other than the performances by the band. A Night at the Opera spawned the hits Bohemian Rhapsody, Your My Best Friend and Love of my Life that he wrote for longtime girlfriend Mary Austin.
Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles the success of one of England’s “crown jewels” …..QUEEN! Rhapsody does feature Mercury’s promiscuous lifestyle but Freddie’s 4 octave vocal range and the band’s music are the stars of this film! I did love that the film took the audience up to the band’s performance at LIVE-AID at Wembley in England, their iconic performance.
Freddie Mercury was the most flamboyant font man in rock and roll and he was a candle that was extinguished far too soon from the mysterious AIDs virus that was just becoming known to the public months before his passing. Rami Malek was incredible as Mercury and is sure to be awarded for his performance this winter. Audience will love this film and will find themselves singing along with the soundtrack, while Queen fans (myself included) will like the film but leave wanting more. I really wanted to see more from Gwilym Lee as Brian May in the studio playing with the band’s sound as the recorded their many hit albums. Queen was also a pioneer in the music video industry with Freddie at home in front of the camera performing the bands songs that were a staple on MTV. This was ironic since the station banned Queens video of “I Want to Break Free” that featured Mercury in drag causing the band to refuse to tour the United States in the future.
Flickanalysis_ 4/5 Gold Records!
The measure of a very good film is when you watch it and forget your seeing actors play parts and just find yourself loving the music and performance of the band QUEEN!
Here is a bonus, ACTUAL footage of Freddie from Live Aid with “Radio GAGA”
Rated PG-13 (Language, drugs and sexual references)