Farrokh Bulsara a.k.a Freddie Mercury, from the band Queen, was one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. His four-octave range and dazzling stage persona left audiences captivated. If you missed Queen in the ’70s and ’80s, catch up now with the new biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the evolution of the band Queen.
Playing the icon of glam rock is Rami Malek. You may remember him as the star of Mr. Robot. His transformation into Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody is simply outstanding. Complete with false teeth (Freddie had additional incisors which he said helped him hit the high notes), tight pants, and elaborate costumes, Malek does more than change his stretch pants, he embodies Mercury’s spirit.
The story hits all the right notes, unfolding with Mercury’s rise to fame, his romance with Mary Austin played by Lucy Boynton, joining forces with guitarist Brian May, played by Gwilym Lee, and drummer, Roger Taylor, (Ben Hardy,) his struggles with his father, his conflicted sexuality and his wild life are all part of the tale as well, but it’s the rock poetry of Queen’s music and Malek’s performance that leave a mark.
Malek is haunting as Mercury, at once overly confident and arrogant and in the next instant vulnerable and soulful. His eyes tell an unspoken story and he steals every scene he is in.
I had the good fortune to hear Malek speak after the film, and I was fascinated by the work and research he put in to portray Mercury. A year of singing lessons, movement classes, and piano lessons, all while he was shooting the third season of Mr. Robot. By the way, the singing is a blend of Malek and Canadian singer Marc Martel.
Malek met with Mercury’s sister and the band members consulted on the film, but sadly he never came face to face with Mary Austin. He said she’s around but very private, and he added that they were very fortunate to have her sign off on the film. (She’s also the only one who knows where Mercury’s ashes are scattered.)
The film was partly directed by Bryan Singer whose supposed absences got him fired, and director Dexter Fletcher picked up the slack.
Bohemian Rhapsody is an entertaining film, and Rami Malek gives an Oscar-worthy performance, he will ROCK YOU. Sprint off the couch and catch an Uber, Bohemian Rhapsody is in theaters now and stay for the credits!