I suppose if I went to see a film about a subject that I was passionate about, and it turned out to be a pretty inaccurate retelling of events, then I might be a little bit disappointed.
On that note, for some enthusiasts, it looks like Bohemian Rhapsody – the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen – is a disappointment. It’s certainly a polarizing movie because I’ve seen some people call it a five-star classic and others give it only two stars.
Having googled some facts about it myself, I can see why they aren’t happy. For example, in the movie it suggests that Queen suffered a bad breakup long before Live Aid and in their first gig together for years, Mercury only managed to pull a performance out of the bag at the last-minute despite his diagnosis of HIV.
In reality, the band were touring through 1984 and 1985 all the way up to Live Aid, and then continued to make albums afterwards. Mercury was only diagnosed in 1987.
I mean…it’s a pretty big inaccuracy, and seemingly it’s not the only one.
So if I was to be critical about the movie from that perspective then I guess I would have to mark it down.
But the thing is, I didn’t know any of that before I saw Bohemian Rhapsody, and thus I took it at face value.
And I have to say, I loved it.
Apart from being an interesting story – fictional or not – its focus on the music made it a fun and energetic viewing experience, culminating in a quite extraordinary re-staging of their electric performance of Live Aid.
That alone was worth the admission fee.
Remi Malek put in a powerful performance as the band’s lead singer, but thankfully didn’t have to really sing the songs himself. I thought it was just Mercury dubbed over while he lip-synced but it turns out the songs were actually sung by a Mercury impersonator from YouTube. I would never have known. But it was very good.
Apart from all of that though, the thing that really stood out about this movie is that even though its running time is almost two and a half hours, I never even checked the time once. That’s almost unheard of.
And it’s perhaps the highest praise I could give it.
So unless you are the ultimate Queen purist or conversely absolutely detest their music, I’m fairly sure you will enjoy this.
It’s definitely up there as the best movie of the year for me.