Stomp your feet and clap your hands: “Bohemian Rhapsody” will rock you. This spectacular biographical film on the legendary British rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury quickly escalates from a historic, powerful music story to an enduring human narrative that touches your soul. Hands down, the movie’s emotion-packed final 20 minutes is a brilliant stage performance that erupts into 2018’s best film ending. No contest.
Director Bryan Singer astutely teamed with former Queen band manager Jim Beach and the group’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to create the backdrop to Mercury’s iconic rise within the music industry. One of this film’s greatest attributes is the meticulous care it takes to illustrate Mercury’s public and private life. No small feat when you consider their subject’s over-the-top personality and endless charisma.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” excludes power and relationships, marking the flamboyant singer’s independent flair and the rock group’s rapid chart-topping appeal. Mercury’s constantly evolving rapport with his family, his fellow band members, business partners, and lovers are all emotionally satisfying, as well as draining to the singer.
To those unfamiliar with Queen and the progressive rock lyrics they brought to the world stage, “Bohemian Rhapsody” will delight audience ears. As one listener who just missed Queen by a decade, it’s remarkable to recognize many of their songs within our American culture, from the sports classics “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” to the memorable “Another One Bites the Dust” tagline. By the film’s hard-hitting end, theater members will feel as though they’ve been to a Queen concert…live in an overflowing Wembley Stadium during 1985.
Deservingly, Rami Malek’s stunning performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury will earn him an Academy Award nomination. As great of a performance that Bradley Cooper gives in “A Star Is Born,” that may not be enough to keep Malek’s hands off the 13.5-inch, 24-karat gold Oscar statuette for Best Actor this year. Time will tell, but I know who I’m voting for right now.
One of a film’s most difficult challenges is ending on the right note. The conclusion attempts to encapsulate the entire movie’s feelings, thoughts, and overall cinematic journey. “Bohemian Rhapsody” absolutely nails its final act. Queen’s appearance in Bob Geldorf’s 1985 benefit concert Live Aid is mesmerizing and deeply satisfying to watch unfold. It endears us to the singer who came so far with the help of so many. The record-breaking worldwide concert is a fitting tribute to special a voice and talent.
Look for “Bohemian Rhapsody” to earn well-deserved award nominations for best actor and best film as the year ends next month. Ay-Oh.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is rated PG-13 with a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.