Films by nature are contained form of entertainment. The story teller has a limited time frame to tell us a story while at the same time ensuring it is entertaining. The paradox is heightened when the film is a biopic. An individual’s life especially when he or she was a global superstar is hard to capture in a set time frame. So storytellers pick and choose their moments, and they dramatize events of their lives to make the film interesting. Bohemian Rhapsody is a classic case of such deductions and alterations. This is the life story of Queen’s front man Farrokh Bulsara played so wonderfully well by Rami Malek.
The film focuses on Farrokh’s life as Freddie Mercury. The immigrant born with a special gift of four extra incisors, and the larger oral chamber, which is the reason for his large vocal range. The flipside of it is his facial deformity. Young Farrokh who is battling his immigrant past and racism in Britain, catches a lucky break when his favorite band’s lead vocalist quits and he makes his grand entry. Guitarist Brian May is played by Gwilym Lee and drummer Roger Taylor by Ben Hardy.
The film goes on to show the musical genius especially of Freddie Mercury and his band members. Queen, although facing challenges from the musical establishment reaches the top of popularity doing shows across the world. This brings success, fame, money and loneliness for Freddie. He had broken up with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) ‘the love of his life’ because he realized he was gay. We see two long term relationships with men, and hints towards a crazy sex life. The pressure of being an ‘outcast’ as the media tried to bring out one juicy headline after another, took its toll on the man. The breaking up of the band is made a lot more dramatic. Freddie takes a lot of the blame for it but soon he reveals he has Aids. We move on to the finale with the Live Aid and we forget everything else.
Bryan Singer, the director isn’t interested in depth. He is more focused on creating moments which are flamboyant but don’t necessarily tell us much about Freddie. The film takes things which a fan would know already and has dramatized it. It gets dreary too often. But for Rami Malek. The scenes when he is on stage light up the screen. He has portrayed the energy of the man, the performer to perfection. Especially that iconic Live Aid performance. The formation of songs, also touches a cord.
The film is about a man’s journey. But it was also about how this band made their fans feel; a reminder of sorts. Feeling is of nostalgia and love for the man and the band.