Posts Tagged ‘Aidan Gillen’

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.

From Brothel to Kingdom

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Director: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox, Annabelle Wallis, Craig McKinley, David Beckham

Despite the miserably wet and cold weather, I popped off one Sunday evening to see director Guy Ritchie’s highly anticipated film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword featuring Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam who embodies all the muscular traits of a young would be king who has to fight his tyrannical uncle. That uncle is played by Jude Law (Wilde, Sherlock Holmes) as the vicious Vortigern.

Vortigern who has been seduced by far darker forces betrays his brother King Uther played by Eric Bana (The Other Boleyn Girl) and even murders his own wife. Talk about sibling rivalry.

Arthur who grows up in a pre-medieval London brothel soon learns to fend for himself against unsuspecting invading Vikings and toughens up enough to become a muscular young man who is selected to return to Vortigern’s castle to stand in line with a queue of brawny lads hoping to be able to pull the sword out of the stone.

That legendary sword Excalibur is rightfully pulled out by Arthur and Vortigern identifies his nephew as his true threat and plans to execute him in a spectacular fashion in front of all his ragged followers who out of fear have sworn fealty to a bloodthirsty deranged king.

Fortunately Arthur has some allies who are determined to shape his royal destiny including the sorceress The Mage played by Spanish star Astrid Berges-Frisbey (I, Origins) and Bedivere played by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) who both assist Arthur in avenging his father’s death and claiming his rightful place at the Table.

In King Arthur, Guy Ritchie employs all his trademark dexterous narrative techniques with lots of witty dialogue that he displayed in the Sherlock Holmes films while deftly maintaining the pace of a legendary action blockbuster, making this one of his biggest studio films.

Hunnam is perfectly cast as the dashing yet brawny King Arthur while Jude Law is suitably vile as Vortigern who believes the only way to quell the masses is through fear.

Whilst King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword could have used a romantic subplot, it remains a mythical and muscular popcorn film which shies away from resorting to loads of gore in order to keep the age restriction fairly low at PG 13.

Audiences should watch out for the deadly archer Bill played by Aiden Gillen last seen as Littlefinger in HBO’s Game of Thrones and the duplicitous maiden Maggie played by British star Annabelle Wallis soon to be seen in the Tom Cruise action remake of The Mummy.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an enjoyable action film heavily influenced by such hit series as Vikings and Game of Thrones but does not punch above its own weight and Ritchie keeps his quirky directorial style to a minimum unlike his previous spy caper The Man From Uncle.

With Hunnam’s box office star power on the rise and Guy Ritchie set to direct more Arthurian sequels, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword gets a rating of 7.5 out of 10.

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