Experience the Wonder of Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

As one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, the aptly titled “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been met with a mixed response since its Nov. 4 release.

Perhaps this is due to the controversy surrounding director Bryan Singer, who was reportedly fired by Fox midway through the film and replaced with Dexter Fletcher (though Singer retains his sole director credit).

Production conflicts aside, “Bohemian Rhapsody” offers a window into the life of British rock band Queen, which formed in 1970 under the leadership of a flamboyant Tanzanian tenor by the name of Farrokh Bulsara.

(People were probably relieved when he started calling himself Freddie Mercury.)

The musical biopic specifically explores the years leading up to Queen’s appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985, a key performance in their career.

Internationally famous as a young adult, Mercury remained an enigmatic character throughout his life. Notably shy and elusive offstage, he rarely interacted with the media, despite their repeated interest in his personal affairs and sexual relationships. He died at the age of 45 from complications due to AIDS.

Actor Rami Malek, well known to American audiences from the TV show “Mr. Robot,” portrays Mercury with remarkable energy and observation.

“Rami does an impressive job of re-creating Mercury’s moves onstage, but the core of the performance is Malek’s intensely thoughtful, insight-rich channeling of Mercury’s hurt, his alienation and his isolation even at the height of his fame,” wrote film critic Richard Brody in The New Yorker.

Rounding out the cast are Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello, who portray Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. “Game of Thrones” star Aidan Gillen plays their manager, John Reid.

Many critics suggest that the film, as a whole, is unremarkable. “The trouble really isn’t Rami Malek, who gives a mesmerizing if opaque performance as Mercury. The problem is that the movie doesn’t have anything interesting to say,” expressed Ty Burr in the Boston Globe.

And thus, we are reminded that it is hard to make a film, much less a good film, or a great film. But competent people put this one together, and it deserves a viewing.

Palisadians can experience “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the Bay Theatre by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas in Palisades Village. Visit cinepolisusa.com for ticketing details.