The Ultimate Performer

Bohemian Rhapsody

Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Aiden Gillen, Mike Myers, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Aaron McCusker

What The Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer’s semi biopic about Freddie Mercury Bohemian Rhapsody lacks in shock value, rising star Egyptian American actor Rami Malek makes up for in sheer acting talent. Malek’s superb performance of Freddie Mercury holds the entire fantastical film about one of the 20th century’s greatest rock bands Queen together.

Bohemian Rhapsody taken from Queen’s six minute rock opera which catapulted them to international superstardom is a fascinating portrayal of the rise and decline of the most outrageous and notorious lead singers in music history – a sort of 1980’s version of Jim Morrison of The Doors fame.

Malek’s tour de force of a performance as the mercurial and super talented Freddie Mercury as he swiftly shrugs off his immigrant persona to embrace the counter culture which swept through British rock music in the 1970’s and 1980’s which originated in the lead singer antics of Sid Vicious of the Punk band The Sex Pistols.

As fame and fortune engulf Queen, the fellow band members are eclipsed by the flamboyant and androgynous performance of Freddie Mercury who is afraid to admit to the world publicly of his real sexuality yet is quite willing to risk all sorts of deviant pleasures under the decadent influence of Irish homosexual companion Paul Prenter wonderfully played  against type by Allen Leech last seen as the Chauffeur in Julian Fellowes hit TV series Downton Abbey.

What director Bryan Singer cleverly avoids is alienating the mainstream audience that will no doubt rush to watch Bohemian Rhapsody by making this rock biopic too risqué but he rather hints at Mercury’s off stage antics especially in London, Rio de Janeiro and Munich. Nothing is going to shock the audience beyond a couple of kissing scenes.

Fortunately, Malek’s performance is not the sort of disturbing viewing generated by the Emmy winning performance of Darren Criss as the gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in the Ryan Murphy TV series The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Instead, Rami Malek dazzles as Freddie Mercury in every frame of the film, convincing the audience that Mercury was the ultimate performer. Bohemian Rhapsody’s success belongs to Malek’s electrifying performance.

As Queen becomes phenomenally successful in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s to their tremendous difficulty in not only staying together as a band but also resolving differences with music executives and more significantly keeping the outrageous and utterly flamboyant Freddie Mercury in check.

Bohemian Rhapsody charts the course of a music sensation which broke all conventions and become the innovative chart topping British band. As the film’s narrative heads towards Queen’s sensational performance at the 1985 Live Aid Concert in Wembley Stadium, which broke all audience records, Singer points to the testament of Queen’s continuing popularity even after Mercury’s tragic diagnosis in the midst of the 1980’s AIDS epidemic.

Audiences should prepare for tears and enthusiasm for Queen’s music but most of all, come prepared to be blown away by the sensationally transformative performance of Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury.

Bohemian Rhapsody gets a film rating of 8 out 10 and will definitely score Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.

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