Released on November 2, 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical account of the band Queen which goes over the history of their formation, their rise to and fall from stardom, the way in which they made their iconic music, and the death of their lead singer, Freddie Mercury. While the movie is marketed as a biography of and follows the post-Zanzibar life of Freddie Mercury, enough of the movie is devoted to the history of the band that it seems fair to say it is also a Queen movie.
Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Anthony McCarten, the movie displays excellent cinematography throughout. Most notably, the heavy usage of tracking shots; even the opening scene is a tracking shot, going from the ground up to the base of a bed, then up an arm hanging off of the bed, and ending on a shot of a man’s body. The face of this mystery man is never seen; the only hints as to his identity are the Queen memorabilia and numerous cats shown in another tracking shot of him moving through his house, and numerous shots of his hood ornament, which is a woman stretching her neck and upper body forward as if flying.
Shots of the band onstage are also notable. Some are made to mirror the way the band advertised themselves; others replicate how they would have been filmed while onstage in real life.
The music played in the movie is a compilation of Queen’s music and a few opera pieces. The opera pieces play as Freddie Mercury writes “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a piece that was inspired by his love of opera. It shows how Queen made their unique-sounding music, from putting coins on a drum to hanging a recorder from the ceiling and swinging it back and forth. The movie also includes 11 complete songs never before released to the public and played throughout the movie.
The movie sometimes falters in terms of historical accuracy. It stays true for a few things, such as portraying Mercury’s bisexuality unflinchingly, but some important details are embellished. For example, Mercury did not join the band after talking to them behind a building; he actually heard rumors of a band in need of a lead vocalist, and checked them out. In addition, the band never disbanded, and as such were actually well-rehearsed for Live Aid.
Overall, Bohemian Rhapsody was a great movie. I give it an 8/10.
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