In Brief: The life of music legend Freddie Mercury is the most talked about movie in a long time and is actually pretty good.
Every year one movie stands out as the film I’m asked about most. This year’s hands-down winner is the Freddy Mercury, and his band Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Most of us know about Mercury’s mercurial on-stage presence and the band’s mega-hit and opera-ode, Bohemian Rhapsody.
We also know that Mercury died of AIDS.
Rami Malik (TV’s Mr. Robot) has a blast playing Mercury. With help of makeup and fabulous fake teeth, Malik looks eerily like the man. His performance is foot-stomping flamboyant, demanding and unrepentant. Malik doesn’t do Mercury’s vocals in the soundtrack. However, he does such a good job of lip-syncing that you’re not so sure. Equally convincing is how Malik’s three co-stars — Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzetto — look uncannily like Mercury’s bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.
Like Malik, they convince you they’re actually musicians.
The film is done by Bryan Singer who is best known for doing a bunch of X-Men movies. He does a superb job turning Anthony McCarten and Peter Morgan’s story and McCarten’s (The Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything) screenplay from predictable to palatable.
I’m not a fan of biopics. Too often, for dramatic purposes, they pack a lot of fiction into fact. Flicks about the lives of musicians and singers — because their lives are often not all that dramatic — are the worst.
To my biopic-hating surprise, Bohemian Rhapsody — while spending most of its time on a cliche-filled surface — is quite good. It’s not perfect, it’s not a best picture or anything, but it works. Much of the reason is Malik and a soundtrack packed with the hits of one of pop’s best-ever bands.
Oh, and look for a brilliant cameo from an almost unrecognizable Mike Myers.
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Rami Malik, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzetto, Aidan Gillian, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and sexual situations. Every year there is one movie that people ask me about a lot. Bohemian Rhapsody is this year’s and it’s a good one. Rate it a 4 1/2 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Catch Gary Wolcott Friday afternoons at 4:50 on KXL’s Afternoon News.
Gary has been KXL’s movie critic since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 28-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Click here to email him.