Do you know, if you asked me yesterday who my favourite band was, I probably wouldn’t have said Queen, but some of my earliest memories are of my brothers LPs of Queen (and the Sex Pistols – and I was petrified of The News of The World album cover, as well as the Who Killed Bambi? album). It was probably the haunting vocals of Freddie Mercury that made me want to learn to sing. To this day I am amazed by his vocal range and clarity, which makes listening to him sing. 27 years after his death still something that can inspire me, and run shivers down my spine.
Let’s get a few things out the way first… If you are going to watch this film because you want a chronology of Queen’s road to fame, you will not get this. It doesn’t explore every album they made, nor does it investigate any of their interactions with films. There are some issue with lip syncing – but you have to be fairly eagled eyed to spot it and I would imagine anyone trying to lip sync Freddie would struggle. You will also not hear a Queen song all the way through… which can be a little frustrating.
What this film does give you is the human interactions between band members and the loves of Freddie’s life – Mary and eventually Jim Hutton. It shows you how hard it was to be something that buck the trend of convention…musically and sexually.
This film really demonstrates how, no matter what the media says, if you are loved by your audience, they really wont care if you like women, men, inanimate objects or anything in between, because lets face it, if you are an amazing talent such as Queen, do you really care what they are doing in their private life so long as it is not something morally wrong?
Rami Malek – my god. I wont lie, when I heard that he had been cast, I couldn’t help but wonder how successful he would be playing such an iconic character. I mean sure, he is great in things like Mr. Robot, and Buster’s Mal Heart, but could he really take his introverted acting style and turn that in to the showman that we all know. Well let me tell you, yes he can. It was magnificent watching him take Farrokh Bulsara through the journey of becoming Freddie Mercury. He was understated enough at the start to be a socially awkward, but musical genius. He evolved the character through developing his showmanship right through to the conceited, drug fuelled ego years… where you have the realisation he didn’t love himself and his on stage persona was a huge front for the fact that he hadn’t really accepted who he really was. He then brings this back to Earth with his reuniting with the band and the devastating news of his diagnosis of AIDS.
Malek is supported by an amazing cast. Ben Hardy playing Roger Hardy, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon, Gwilym Lee as Brian May and Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin, surround the crowing glory of Queen to give absolutely top notch performances, capturing every movement and gesture that each character makes to make you really feel you are watching these well known people on screen.
The cinematography is well set and not intrusive, never once did I feel that the look and feel of the film was trying to over take the performances, but each costume, each set and each shot has been meticulously thought through to make you remember the moments in history that this band hit.
The film ends on the high of Live Aid in 1985, and gives you a brief recount of the end years through photography and text, which honestly was pitched just right as I think if it had traipsed through the final 6 years of Freddie’s life I wouldn’t have held it together in the cinema. The relationships shown in this interpretation and how the highs and lows of each of their lives are shown is emotional enough to not need to push the decline in health which came at the end.
What this really brings home is how Queen became so iconic. How they really knew that they were there based solely on the love of their audience which is show though how they wanted to interact. Each and every member had their own talent and contributed to the family that they created between them. Of course Freddie was the main attraction and a genius that burned so bright and burnt out to early, but it also shows how he needed each member of Queen to create the dynamic that they had.
Whether you were a fan of Queen or not, or if you are too young to really know how influential and inspiring these people were, I would still urge you to see this film as it will make you realise that fame is nothing without the support of people who love you. It will give you a realisation of how hard life can be and how cruel some people can be. It will also give you an insight to a personality that wanted so much to be loved, but really needed to learn to love them self first.
For me, despite the things that were missed, and the songs which didn’t feature, this film is an epic. It is so touching and a beautiful tribute to a band which gave so many people so much joy.
Now I can’t end this without giving you something of Queen to listen to, but they had so many amazing songs and it would feel cliche to give you Bohemian Rhapsody, just because it is the name of the film, so I will go with the song which I think made such a poignant moment in the film.
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