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Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Review: It Is Endearing Though Not a Great Bio-Pic On Freddy Mercury 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Starring: Rami Malek,Lucy Boynton

Directed  by Bryan Singer

 Rating: ***(3 stars)

Bohemian Rhapsody  is a deeply flawed  bio-pic on a  deeply-flawed  thought monstrously gifted  musician-singer-composer who  changed the way we looked at stadia-rock.

So how did Farrokh Bulsara become Freddy Mercury? The journey was a tumultuous one, here  in  this  decorous and faithful  bio-pic strewn with self-revelations(his homosexuality, for one) and the  backstage chatter was  overpowering in its power  to  build Freddy’s image as  a mercurial musician who  inhabited a stratosphere  octaves  above the rest.

This bio-pic, troubled  by production  glitches  right through, succeeds in making Mercury look  sassy and  campy without  flipping his music into the conundrum of eccentricity. Come to think  of it, there is  nothing really wrong with this  bird’s eye view of life that defied  deviant deification. It  ticks all the boxes in  the  bio-pic genre  , offends no one seriously  and defends none either.

The  non-judgmental  not-taking-sides  attitude is also an impediment to  an unfettered  easy-breathing ride. The  narrative is too anxious to get it all right and  to get it all into that  2 hour-space.  Every  landmark Queen  song gets airplay and  an elaborate  pre-explanation in the scheme  of  things. Every character who ever touched Freddy’s life  is brought  in for considering, no matter  how fleeting.

Sagaciously,  the onus of opening out Freddy’s sexuality has been placed on his long-term “girlfriend”  Mary Austin(played with an understated lustre  by  Lucy Boynton), The scenes between them where  she is  baffled by his response  to gender issues are sensitively crafted, and a far  cry from the hoarse aggressive look-at-me  attitude adopted for all the recording and performing portions which are  clearly meant to replicate the rabble-rousing energy  of  Mercury’s live  performances.And they  succeed in grabbing us  by our jowls.

This  brings  me  to this politically correct bio-pic’s central  issue. Rami Malek as  Freddy Mercury is everything  you expect me to be, toothy mouth, wild hair , unisex clothes and  girlie gait….it’s all there. But then again,this is  not Freddy Mercury.This is Mercury according to Malek. I recently saw this interesting Egyptian actor in  the remake of Papillon and I found him employing the same camera tricks here as Mercury as he did in Papillon. Which is not really a wrong thing  to do. Every actor  can only take  a  character as far as the performing skills allow. This one  just doesn’t go far enough.

For a film attempting to encapsulate a  life that lived by  none  of the rules, this bio-pic embraces a surprisingly  propah tone  of  storytelling. Not ready to offend  anyone, thereby reducing Freddy Mercury’s iconoclasm to a textbookish tell-all tale that tells all that we it wants to and nothing more.

Neither bohemian  enough to give Freddy’s  lifestory a dizzying spin  nor quite  a rigorous rhapsody, at the end  of it all it’s not quite ‘We Will Rock You’. But  neither is it ‘Another One Bites The Dust.’ If you are a Freddy Mercury fan(which I am not) you may want to know  a lot more about him than this movie is willing to tell.

 

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