It was Novembre 1991. I had late shift and watched a little TV before I got to work. Breaking news: Freddie Mercury is dead.
I nodded to the news. Who is that Freddie Mercury? Ah, the singer of Queen. Had heard about them. Then I somehow started to listen to their music and finally became a fan. A big fan. But too late.
It is 27 years later now and I’m 27 years older. But I still love John Deacon’s bass, Roger Taylor’s drums, Brian May’s guitar (one of world’s greatest guitar players next to Santana and of course Jimi Hendrix) and of course Freddies marvelous voice. I had no choice but to watch the Bio pic of the year – Bohemian Rhapsody.
I’m not sure, with what purpose the movie had been made. To set a monument for Freddie? No need for this, he’s set it himself. To tell his story? That would have been my intention, had I been involved in the making of the film though it is a story which must be told.
Today’s cinema is full of spectacle and Bohemian Rhapsody is a spectacle too. Though it is different because the spectacle doesn’t come from oppulent CGI effects. This spectacle is much greater than any CGI within the next 100 years can bring for it comes from:
1. A heart warming story
I never doubted, that a rock star has his weight to bear. A live between studio and tour, always performing at 110%, will sooner or later will burn out everybody.
So I don’t wonder, that not only a few of those stars celebrate wild parties, drunk too much alcohol – all that. We are just simple mortals, not those gods we’re listening to and worshiping at concerts. And we simple mortals usually don’t see anything else than the glamour. We often don’t see the woman or man behind the star and can at the best only guess, what it means to be a rock star.
Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of the man Freddie Mercury. It is a story of conflicts between him and his father, his band and most of all with himself.
Freddie had been a very colourful person in the public. But today I saw – excellently played by Rami Malek – a very lonesome man. A solitary man who tried to feel less solitary through all his parties, a man who finally found peace when it was all too late, just in the moment he knew, that he’s been doomed to die. The moment when he realizes, how little time is left for him, is the moment he realizes, that his loneliness finally had been his own fault, because he didn’t see his true friends and treated them badly.
Of course the tragic of Freddie’s HIV infection had not been left out. How could it? But it was treated in the way, Freddie would have wanted it. He never wanted to be the victim of his disease. And so the film ended with the triumph of Queen’s comeback at Live Aid. I admit, that I had to fight back tears. It’s been no pity for Freddie. But to see him and the band back in front of the crowd at Wembley had been a moment too emotional to remain calm.
2. Great acting
Be it Freddie Mercury, be it Brian May, John Deacon or Roger Taylor – what you see on the screen is nobody else but Queen.
Do you know those moments, when you think you know an actor but do not remember where you know him from? The moments when you don’t recognize the man on the screen even though you know, that you should? I knew, that I already had seen Rami Malek and I knew I had seen Gwilym Lee, who’s playing Brian May. Meanwhile I have read that Malek had been Ahkmenrah in “Night at the museum” and that Mr. Lee had acted as DS Nelson in “Midsomer Murders”, and in the same instant an “Oh, yes! It’s him” ran through my mind. And if someone that different, that I don’t recognize him, he must do everything right. Or be not famous enough, but this time the actors did everything right.
But whatever role they had played in the past, “Bohemian Rhapsody” had been their master piece. Every single tiny movement of the actors had been Queen. Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury has been the diva we all know, the high energy performer we all had seen onstage and in video clips, but also the sad and solitary man, I would put my arm around, if I had the chance just to comfort him as a friend. When I had to fight back my tears at the end of the film it had been tears of admiration for the valour of the man I saw on the screen.
Gwilym Lee treated the guitar exaclty as Brian May would have done, stood the stage like Mr. May. Behind the drums sat nobody else but Roger Taylor. But of course it is more than just impersonating somebody else and the actors did this more. In every single scene I felt, what the characters felt. There was the sadness in Freddie’s eyes, Roger’s anger, because Freddie was always late or the rest of the band didn’t like “I’m in love with my car”… All those tiny emotions that make a specific person. In no moment did I see just a movie. I saw the people. I saw the band. I saw Queen.
Well, I don’t believe, that any of those man will have the chance to win an OSCAR with the performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The guys were far to good to win an Academy Award.
It is a film about Queen. A film about one of the best and most legendary bands in this world’s musical history. The Beatles? The Stones? Pah! Who the hell are they? Allright, the Rolling Stones might be a bit longer onstage than Queen had been. But Queen had Freddie Mercury and all the Stones together are no match to Freddie.
As it is a film about Queen the sound track is of course full of Queen’s songs. Of course it could not have been Rami Malek singing the songs himself. There is noone out there who has a voice matching Freddie’s. It was his original voice. At least I believe so.
Rami Malek, I read, sang during the filmmaking. But in post production a soundalike and even original parts of Queen recordings had been used.
But however it had been done, I felt to be back in 1992 in the Wembley Stadium (even though I had seen it all only on TV). Yes, I’m speaking of the memorial concert.
And though the music itself is absolutly great, some songs have made a new sense for me. Even with considering that the movie isn’t too “historical” acurate. “Who wants to live forever”, though written by Brian May and without any connection to Freddies disease, though being just part of the “Highlander” soundtrack, had been given a whole new aspect when it was used in “Bohemian Rhapsody” in connection with the tragic events of Mr. Mercury learning, he has AIDS.
And as a cool start Brian May played the Fox music in the intro.
Even the not so tragically used songs are simply a great spectacle. It’s absolutly worth to watch the movie for the music alone.
As I said, the movie is not always all to accurate in historical sense. Some things are just Hollywood. The comeback at Live Aid has not been a comeback in truth. The band had not split. Roger Taylor and Brian May had – opposite to what is said in the movie – their own solo projects. Before Freddie had his solo album. So the Freddie Mercury Album was quite likely no matter to be discussed in the band. And different to how it was put in the film Freddie learned of his HIV infection after Live Aid, not before.
But that doesn’t make the movie less good. I’m sure and was sure even without the film, that Freddie Mercury had always been a driven man, . And Rami Malek’s performance set Freddie Mercury a monument. It had not been necessary to set this monument but all who made this film made the monument as well. To Freddie and to Queen.
So “Bohemian Rhapsody” is an absolute must see to every Queen fan and a should not be missed to the rest of the world. It’s my personal film of the year 2018.
|Acting:||(5 / 5)|
|Music:||(5 / 5)|
|Touching:||(5 / 5)|
|Average:||(5 / 5)|
Actually it should be 6 of 5 stars. But maths don’t allow this. That’s why music is better then mathematics. You can do everything in music.