[Film Review] Bohemian Rhapsody; Ordinary Story Wrapped in Extraordinary Music

“ Galileo? Scaramouche? Who are they ?” That’s roughly the sentence that was uttered by one of the characters in response to the lyrics of the song Bohemian Rhapsody . Although there are many theories about the actual meaning of the song, Freddy Mercury, the songwriter himself, never explained the actual meaning and often argued that the song’s lines were just a line of nonsense and said ” I think people should just listen to it, think about it.” , and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them .” Same goes for biopics Freddy Mercury which takes the same title as the song, this film is just a series of meaningless stories that will be greatly enjoyed if what you are looking for is enough good music to hear.

The film Bohemian Rhapsody itself tells the journey of Farrokh Bulsara/Freddy Mercury (Rami Malek) who is a fan of the band Smile, finally replacing the vocalist position who decided to move to another band. Freddy with guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and then bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) formed a band which was later named Queen. Their unconventional and experimental music got them signed to a record label, and brought them to the top of the charts not only in the UK but around the world. Problems arise when Freddy gets caught up in personal problems that not only interfere with his relationship with his bandmates, but also with his true love Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton).

As a biopic, unfortunately, Bohemian Rhapsody does not provide new information and insight about Queen or the life story of the vocalist. The series of information that Anthony McCarten recounts as a scriptwriter is general information and I have known for a long time, which makes it just a glorification of the Wikipedia page. For me, an interesting biopic is one that provides new information that not many people know, such as the First Man filmwhich gives another side of Neil Armstrong’s life. If there were more scenes such as (but not limited to) the scene where Queen members often disagreed with the song selection and mocked Roger Taylor’s song I’m in Love with My Car, surely the film would be more than just a fictional film.

Apart from the lack of traction in providing new information, director Bryan Singer – who was later fired in the middle of production and replaced by Dexter Fletcher – is not very good at conveying some dramatic moments. Although the tagline of this film itself is ” the only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story” , but in reality the life story of the vocalist is told in an ordinary way and tends to be flat. Sexuality, addiction to drugs, until he finally got AIDS; doesn’t have the impact it should have in movies like Brokeback Mountain or Call Me by Your Name . The interesting part is actually the behind-the-scenes scene of making hitsQueen and the true love story of Freddy and Mary Austin, which unfortunately this last part is a bit underexplored to create strong emotions.

However, as I stated earlier, this film will be very enjoyable if you just wait for the music because each musical presentation is so enjoyable. This is inseparable from the selection of songs which are like a line of greatest hits that will make Queen fans happy. The climax was a charity show for the famine victims in Ethiopia entitled Live Aid which was held at Wembley Stadium, London on July 13, 1985. The show, which consisted of top musicians at that time, was a stage for Queen who were called attention thieves, until their appearance on the stage. often named the best rock performance of all time (videos of Queen’s performance can be found on YouTube).

Bryan Singer and cinematography Newton Thomas Sigel not only showed Queen songs at the concert but also gave a touch of emotion. How the camera often moves to capture the expressions of band members, close people, the audience’s faces, to zoom-outto the Wembley crowd of about 72,000 spectators; I, who have been influenced by my father from a young age with Queen songs, really feel goosebumps. All of this is also supported by the appearance of Rami Malek who, although in appearance the face is not similar and the voice is clearly different from Freddy Mercury, but on stage appearances he can animate the star very well. If you can’t watch it in IMAX format, it’s highly recommended to watch it in a studio equipped with Dolby Atmos sound and watch it with a cool audience so you can sing along.