Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody ★½

Everything you need to know about “Bohemian Rhapsody” — a broad, frivolous, and uselessly formulaic biopic about an inimitable band of misfits — can be surmised from a graphic that gets plastered across the screen in big letters when Queen embarks on their first American tour: “Midwest USA.” Not “Cleveland,” or “Detroit,” or “Kansas City,” but just “Midwest USA.” There’s not even a comma. That’s the degree of specificity in play here.

If not for Rami Malek’s feral posturing as one of rock history’s greatest frontmen, a deep roster of killer songs, and the long shadow of his band’s iconic 1985 performance at Live Aid, this movie could effectively be about any musicians, at any time, rolling through any part of the United States. From the disapproving parents, to the drug-fueled orgies, to the unbelievable scene when a young Freddie Mercury (née Farrokh Bulsara) introduces himself to Brian May and Roger Taylor mere seconds after the two bandmates have been abandoned by their original lead singer, it’s an out-of-body experience to watch such a paint-by-numbers portrait in a post-“Walk Hard” world.


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