Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
It’s difficult to tell the difference when watching the biopic of the greatest ‘Queen’ there ever was, Freddie Mercury, a man known to so many for being larger than life.
Bohemian Rhapsody may be one of the UK’s biggest chart topping anthems, but it also holds the poignant story of Freddie Mercury’s life. The recently released film, aptly titled after the renowned operatic pop song, tells the tale of how the British band, Queen, came to become one of the greatest bands in the world, as well as the rise and subsequent downfall of its lead singer.
The film delved deep into the man behind the legend, portraying a poignant tale of a man who defied convention and led a glamorous lifestyle, but still felt painfully alone.
Bohemian Rhapsody did well to illustrate Mercury’s journey, from being the insignificant Persian airport baggage handler, Farrokh Bulsara, to the man, who brought Queen together and helped the band achieve worldwide success. It also portrayed the influences and key players who had a tremendous effect in Mercury’s life at various points in his life. Most notably, that of Mary Austin, Mercury’s long time friend and someone he considered the love of his life, as well as that of Paul Prenter, Mercury’s manager and someone who many believe to be reason for the singer’s downfall.
The entire film was spot on in terms of depicting the era in which Queen rose to fame. This was a time of bootleg jeans, long hair and when smoking was considered ‘cool’. As someone who was born and grew up in the 90s it’s always interesting to watch films set in the past, as it paints a picture of what the world was like back then. And from what I saw in this film, the 70s and 80s rocked!
The time period wherein Queen rose to fame was a point in time where some of the best musicians were recognised and people were given the opportunity to experience the power of talent. Watching the film, I not only felt a great deal of sadness for the tragedy that became of Mercury’s life towards the end but also for the world’s loss of having real music. I say this while what sounds like rambling with a bit of percussion and curse words play on the radio in the background. Gone are the days where musicians are able to not only play instruments, but also write and perform their pieces of work live without the need for backup tracks or lip syncing. Sure, there are those today who are able to produce beautiful pieces of work, but compared to the past, this is becoming more and more rare.
The film certainly made me appreciate the music of the 70s and 80s, more so that of Queen’s, with the entire film being filled with some of the band’s most popular tracks. It certainly had my toes tapping, listening to the likes of “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust” playing on screen as I watched the characters in the film work together to create and then perform the songs. Though fictional, it was inspiring and eye-opening to learn about how some of Queen’s biggest hits were created.
It was obvious, through the film, that Queen was a band unlike any other, with songs that transcended the norm. With Mercury’s wild imagination, Brian May’s brilliant finger work and open mind, Roger Taylor’s charm and humour, and John Deacon’s level headedness, the five members of the band managed to put together some of the wildest collaborations, taking inspiration from musical works of all sorts. With that came the band’s point of difference and uniqueness, something that became very apparent as Queen rose to fame.
What I loved most about the film, was the way in which it played out like a factual documentary. I don’t know enough about Queen’s history or Freddie Mercury’s life to be able to tell whether the film added in fictional aspects to the story but from where I was sitting, it was easy to believe that every instance in the film was based on true facts.
The acting, especially by Rami Malek, who played Mercury was simply brilliant. Each character was developed in such a way that audiences could truly connect with their individual and collective circumstances and of course, this meant, feeling a great deal of joy, pride and ultimately immense sadness for Freddie Mercury.
Both the visual and sound effects added to the emotional drama of the film, allowing for a powerful story that resonated with the hearts of Queen and Freddie Mercury fans everywhere. The Live Aid concert, in particular, was spectacularly shot and almost looked like the real concert that took place on 13 July 1985. As a young fan of Queen who has never had the opportunity to watch them live in concert, watching the Live Aid performance in Bohemian Rhapsody felt like the next best thing.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a film unlike anything I’d seen before and showcased the trials and tribulations that the man, the legend, Freddie Mercury endured to transcend the music industry. His story, illustrated the challenges that artists faced at a time where being different was unheard of. Though I did shed a tear or two for Mercury, I walked out of the cinemas having a much better appreciation for not only Mercury, but for Queen as a whole. This is one heck of a music biopic and one that all Queen fans must watch.