Bohemian Rhapsody: music rocks, but the story fails to hit the mark

“Stomp! Stomp! Clap! Stomp! Stomp! Clap!…We will we will rock you…”

I was nine years old the first time I heard this song and it stuck with me. Growing up, the whole crowd would unite during sporting events to play the beat with tapping feet and clapping hands. I never knew the faces of the people who sang this song until the trailer for “Bohemian Rhapsody” popped up as a YouTube ad. It promised to tell the story of Freddie Mercury and the band that gave a beat to the minds of millions. To this day, the stomping, clapping, and guitar solo still demand me to join in and sing along.

 

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Contributed Photo

“Bohemian Rhapsody” gives a peek into one of the world’s most recognizable bands and its iconic singer, Freddie Mercury.  It holds nothing back. The music and performances fully capture the power and presentation of the songs. However, while the movie excels in its music, it falls short on story delivery.

 

Throughout the film, we are brought into the life of Mercury: his relationships, love for music, and the demons that plague him—the struggle with his sexuality, acceptance, and loneliness. Each take a turn trying to bring him into submission.

As Mercury battles his demons, we realize that the life of a celebrity, although glamorous, can be lonely.

The antagonist in the movie successfully plays on Mercury’s insecurities but is a fairly shallow character and seems oddly placed in the movie. He is introduced too late and is not as strong of a character as he could be. His obsession with Mercury is not fully explained as he cuts Mercury away from his family—his band.

The lack of a strong antagonist forces the Bohemian Rhapsody redemption story to lose its power.

There is no real rock bottom—it’s just a bottom—making the triumph of Mercury seem like a quick jump rather than a mountain climb. The plot moves too quickly through the lows and highs of Mercury’s life and dwells too long on a—admittedly well-done—final concert scene.

Rami Malek’s acting for Mercury is phenomenal and helps the movie in its shortcomings of story delivery.

As we are drawn into the creation of Queen, we see their uniqueness as artists and the power of their music to get the crowd engaged. You will find it difficult not to mouth the words and drum to the beat in your theater seat. The music is the greatest part of the film. To deliver the music, the movie combined the voices of Malek, Canadian Christian singer Marc Martel, and Freddie Mercury’s original sound tracks to bring to life the voice that drew the hearts of millions, according to Malek in an interview with Vanity Fair.

In “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the music takes center stage while the story falls to stage left.

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