Just been watching…(101)

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

I have to say straight away that I am not a huge fan of the British band Queen. I thought that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was an amazing song at the time, and they have some ‘anthems’ that everybody can sing and enjoy. But I was very much a fan of completely different kinds of music, and never owned a single album by this band. But this is a film review, so I will rate it as such.

I would probably never have bothered to watch this, had not the DVD turned up in the house. But once it started, I thought ‘why not’? I am not sure if die-hard fans of the band will enjoy this. In fact, I do know one man who loves the group, but hated the film. I can see it from a very neutral perspective, and have no bias either way.

The first thing I should say is that this is a film about Freddie Mercury. The rest of the band is featured of course, alongside the manager, record company executives, and Freddie’s love interests. But it is all about Freddie, and the actor playing him (Rami Malek) is rarely off screen throughout. It has a rather ‘retro’ feel, looking at the rise of the famous group in much the same way as many other music biopics have done in the past. Arguments about songs, snippets of performances, world tours, sitting in dressing rooms, travelling in buses. You know the deal.

Factually, it glosses over a lot of actual events, and introduces some supposed ‘facts’ that are just not true. No doubt this is done for dramatic effect, but even a non-fan like myself found some things irritating. Much is made of Freddie’s sexuality, drug use, heavy drinking, and apparent ‘prima-donna’ personality. He comes across as someone I don’t think I would have wanted to know.

On the plus side, (yes, there are plus sides) Malek does Mercury well, even singing the songs. He struts, preens, and poses as we might expect, and he doesn’t attempt a straight impersonation. Given how well-known Mercury was, this was a good decision. But for me, this also means that he never completely convinces in the role, and despite the huge number of awards won by the film, I was far from impressed. The rest of the casting is first rate; with the reliable Tom Hollander, Aiden Gillen, and an unrecognisable Mike Myers all doing well.

I didn’t feel it though, as you can probably tell. I would sooner watch the real band in concert, to be honest.

Still, what do I know? Here’s a trailer.

58 thoughts on “Just been watching…(101)

  1. I found it an easy film to watch and loved the authenticity of the sets, but then I guess it all happened as I was growing up which increased the appeal to me. I remember my first listen to ‘A Night at the Opera’ round at a older neighbours who I’m sure must have bought it hot off the press.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When Bohemian Rhapsody was released here, I was 23. But as much as I liked it, I preferred soul music, David Bowie, and Steely Dan. I don’t think you were too old for Queen, probably just preferred some other kinds of music.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am a Queen fan and was gutted when Freddie Mercury died. I enjoyed the film because of the music. I know he won Oscars for his performance and I think you are right that Mr Malek acted his socks off but he didn’t do it for me. But then, I don’t know who could. I’ll probably go and see the Elton John film because I like the music and I’m sure it will be entertaining rather than offering insights into the ‘real’ Elton John.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post 🙂 This was a disappointing film. A few others have beat me to this statement, but it is kind of a shame that we do not have directors like Ken Russell currently living (notice I said like him cause you know he is dead). Somebody like him would have made this film audacious, but given how safe most screen bios are played these days that probably would have been impossible. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched a good chunk of this film while in the doctor’s office (I was not the patient). The film was nothing special. I’m familiar with a couple of the songs the group put out, but that’s the extent of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When they made a stage musical using all ABBA songs, “Mamma Mia!”, and it was a huge success, a new era of “entertainment” was born: thin stories filled with greatest hits, performed with a lot of energy….is it good? Well, it was fun, and that’s the very low bar for success…I enjoyed the film “Bohemian Rhapsody” but I also found it interesting that certain songs were used over others…songs that I believe were written by Brian May, who is also presented as an Artistic Genius/Saint who put up with Freddie’s antics for the good of the band…oh, and who was Executive Producer of the music in the film? May!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Don’t get me started on Brian May, John. He can certainly play a guitar, but the man badly needs a haircut! 🙂 As you say, he definitely comes out of this film smelling of roses.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Haven’t seen this one and I don’t intend to. I loved Queen the band and I think Mercury was one of the best frontmen in rock, but like you say, he’s not a guy that I would have wanted to meet and I don’t think his life story is particularly compelling. My goodness, though–the way he could command an audience. It’s scary. That Live Aid performance is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a few Queen songs that I like a lot. Perhaps influenced by listening to the music of my children’s day. I am not a huge fan of knowing all the back stories of musicians, actors and the like. For me, it takes a little mystery away.

    I watch so few movies these days. I am not sure I can see another ‘music’ movie in the theater where I can not control the volume. A Star is Born was so loud I had a hard time enjoying it. But I digress.

    Maybe if it comes up free, at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I thought Bohemian R. was wonderful too, and one or two others where they use the same kind of structures and harmonies, but not much of their other stuff. Not just the music – what always put me off was how FM postured and pranced around in a vest (probably says more about me than him).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gosh, is that out on DVD already? I saw Rocketman and loved it, though I know at least one Elton fan who didn’t. I’m just not enough of a Queen fan to bother with this though

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Also their father married again and had 4 sons with his second wife. By then he was older and more mellow I expect, and treated those boys differently to how he treated Elton, who was quite a few years older than his step-brothers.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. I like a lot of Queen songs, and Phil has got one of their older albums, but I’ve not been moved to see this, not really bothered, and your review confirms I won’t be. Looking more forward to Rocketman though!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Since it became available On Demand, I’ve planned on renting it to watch. Rami Malek stole my heart in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2. While the main actors in the Twilight Saga franchise are barely seen in a role since the saga ended, it was refreshing seeing Rami receive an Oscar for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody. Thanks for the movie review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Xena. Mr Malek certainly acted his socks off, but whether or not it worked is a matter of opinion, I suspect. I will leave it to the Queen fans to decide. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.


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