REEL TO REAL : MUSIC DRAMA – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

It’s impossible to be objective about Bohemian Rhapsody as I have been a Queen fan since 1977.

Apart from its obvious nods to nostalgia, Bohemian Rhapsody is a cinematic achievement for its widescreen portrayal of an extraordinary band Queen and its members viz. Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and of course, the late great Freddie Mercury.

For diehard Queen fans like myself, it was an absolute thrill to see the genesis and rise of the band in the early 70s played out on the screen, events previously only read in books and magazines.

In terms of exact chronology, there are jarring moments where things get out of synch but that is to be expected, as a movie is bound to massage the truth somewhat in aid of the narrative.

None of all this would matter as long as Rami Malek was able to convince the audience that for the duration of the film, he was Mercury. Wildly successful in this respect, Malek was superb in bringing Mercury alive on screen.

The rest of Queen – Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazello) play crucial parts in the storytelling. The actors do an admirable job matching Malek’s commitment and the lack of cringeworthy moments is testament to that.

The quality of the storytelling itself may vary depending on one’s perspective. There is a commendable effort to present Mercury’s struggle to find “somebody to love” – in his fight to be himself and yet at the same time, hiding his ethnicity and sexuality, in order for his music ability to be recognised on its own terms.

The film does well to present the ending Live Aid sequence with enough emotional impact that is paid off with an astonishingly realistic re-creation of that magical performance from mid-1985.

As a diehard Queen fan, it was difficult not to be swept away by the feelings welling up deep within myself, shaking with emotion especially with the lump in throat rendition of “We Are The Champions”.

Watching in IMAX, it was as if I was at Wembley itself that day, enveloped by the sound of music and the vision of thousands of fans drinking in every note sung, every gesture made by Freddie Mercury.

An amazing heartfelt tribute to the genius of the unique man – one that will never ever be seen again. If you are a Queen or rock music fan, do not miss Bohemian Rhapsody, especially in IMAX.

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