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Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Get ready to stomp - stomp - clap along to all your favourite Queen hits, because Bohemian Rhapsody is about to rock your world. Since its initial announcement in 2010, the film has been eagerly anticipated by excited fans from all over the world, and it will not fail to exceed your expectations. Following the incredible story of the late and much lamented Freddie Mercury, the multi-award-winning biopic takes the viewer on an awe-inspiring journey, as emotional as it is uplifting. This long awaited feel-good film is sure to have you dancing in your seat from start to finish.

As a whole, the cast is relatively unknown in comparison to most Hollywood films (bar an amusing cameo from Mike Myers), allowing a plethora of thrilling new talent to burst onto the acting scene. Casting director Susie Figgis has found a hidden gem in previously unsung actor Rami Malek, who is triumphant in his stunningly convincing portrayal of Mercury. Malek effortlessly captures the charming quirks and mannerisms that made Freddie such a lovable icon, conveying every emotion with an astounding degree of earnest compassion; a challenging feat for such a complex, intriguing and largely misunderstood character. He is supported by equally talented bandmates Joe Mazzello, Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy, who play John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor respectively – the latter two of whom worked as consultants on the film, and who could possibly know the story of Queen better than its founding members? Thanks to this, the superfans amongst you can rest assured that all of the information in the film is both truthful and genuine.

Slight historical inaccuracies and timeline errors are excused by highly laudable cinematography. It is safe to say the spectacular final scene elevates the film to new heights, in the form of a twenty minute long, almost frame-by-frame replica of Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance. Every last detail is recreated faultlessly, from the striking 80s-style costumes to the 72,000-strong crowd of roaring fans. Malek’s exceptional stage presence seems to come naturally, as he conjures up a showstopping performance that would be certain to gain Freddie’s seal of approval. As a member of the audience, you will feel like you’re there in the flesh, experiencing the world-renowned set first-hand. The scene holds a particularly special nostalgic value for those of us old enough to remember the original Live Aid concert – such a massively ground-breaking event could never truly be recreated, and is courageous to even attempt, but Bohemian Rhapsody gives it an excellent shot and the results are undeniably impressive.

Perhaps most insightful of all is the film’s representation of the hardships Mercury faced due to his ethnic background and bisexuality. Both are handled with poise and diplomacy in a variety of poignant scenes, including Freddie’s rebellion against his traditional Parsi family, the breakdown of his long-term relationship with companion Mary Austin (portrayed excellently by Lucy Boynton) due to his secret sexual encounters with men, and the heart-wrenching announcement that he has contracted AIDS. We see Freddie’s astonishing character development and growth in confidence from a shy, lone-spirited teenager attending Smile gigs and dreaming of joining them on stage, to the eccentric avant-garde superstar we all know and adore.

The film is hugely rewatchable thanks to its fine detail – it will have you queuing at the cinema for a second (or third) time to ensure you haven’t missed out on a second of the astute plot. Also contributing to its addictive je ne sais quoi is its head-banging soundtrack, featuring (but not limited to) such beloved hits as Killer Queen, I Want to Break Free, Radio Ga Ga and of course its namesake Bohemian Rhapsody. The legendary music complements the visuals perfectly, and serves as a delightful accompaniment to the storyline.

Bohemian Rhapsody is an absolute essential for cinema enthusiasts and Queen fans alike. It is sure to be remembered as one of the greatest music biopics of the 21st century – so don’t miss out.

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