Stu’s review published on Letterboxd:
There comes a time when you have to forget the abundance of negativity surrounding a film, just sit back and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience. For me Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) was one of those films and I’m glad I pushed the criticism to the back of my mind because it allowed the movie to take me on a journey, a journey about life, love, music, creativity and heart.
Despite the problems surrounding the production, with director Bryan Singer leaving with just 2 weeks of principal photography remaining, this story of British rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury was clearly left in the capable hands of filmmakers who genuinely love the band. Their story is told with a warmth and depth that leaves you wanting more. In fact my only real issue with this film is that it is not long enough. The story behind Queen, their accomplishments and Mercury’s life is too monumental to cover off in just 2 hours and 14 minutes.
The cast chosen to play the band is a stroke of genius, Gwilym Lee’s Brian May is insanely accurate from the lead guitarist’s speech to his manorisms and on stage presence. Joseph Mazzello, of Jurassic Park (1993) fame, looks uncanny as bassist John Deacon and Ben Hardy is witty and sincere as drummer Roger Taylor. But it’s Rami Malek’s flamboyant, funny and moving portrayal of lead singer Freddie Mercury that provides us with one of the best performances of the year and which I believe should definitely be considered come Oscar nomination day.
As with most biopics there are moments of manipulated truth, but what you can’t manipulate is Queen’s Live Aid (1985) performance watched by 1.5 billion people, which is shown at the film’s conclusion. Malek is absolutely incredible portraying Mercury step by step and expression by expression. The recreation of the old Wembley and its crowd is just spectacular culminating in a highly emotional performance fitting of the legacy Queen and in particular Mercury left behind.