Between Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star is Born and the up-and-coming Rocketman, moviegoers are a little spoilt for choice when it comes to music-fuelled biopics about the world’s greatest singer-songwriters.
A Star is Born is the real outlier, of course, as it’s already been made multiple times over, but in the case of Bohemian Rhapsody, we’re on the cusp of seeing Rami Malek disappear into the role of Freddie Mercury, Queen’s magnetic frontman who redefined the parameters of pop music.
Suffice it to say, Malek has some pretty big boots to fill, and at least according to the first reactions, he does so brilliantly – even if the movie itself falls short of the spectacular.
A number of critics caught an early screening of Bohemian Rhapsody this past weekend and while the full reviews are yet to be released online, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Fox’s dazzling biopic is something of a mixed bag.
— Jenna Busch (@JennaBusch) October 7, 2018
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: That Live Aid performance gave me chills. The rest of the movie…
— erickohn (@erickohn) October 8, 2018
Bohemian Rhapsody is a straight-on biopic with plenty of Queen music and a strong performance by Rami Malek. It will get mixed reviews. It might play with audiences.
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) October 7, 2018
HOLY HELL!! #BohemianRhapsody is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! A rousing emotional cinematic champion that will rock you! #RamiMalek is magnificent! It’s great FUN & it will ROCK YOU!! #AStarIsBorn, you’ve been served!! #Queen #FreddieMercury #Galileo pic.twitter.com/grykKkGjoE
— The WolfMantz (@MovieMantz) October 7, 2018
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a glorified Wikipedia entry but Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury (and wears his wonderful costumes) with incredible gusto
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) October 7, 2018
Also this is the first biopic I ever remember watching in which literally every scene I’m thinking, “there’s no way that’s how that actually went down.”
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) October 8, 2018
So for all of the potential and the bright lights and the fist-pumping power ballads, it would seem Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and is saved only by Rami Malek’s powerhouse performance.
Don’t take that as gospel, of course, as only the fortunate few have caught Bohemian Rhapsody with their own two eyes. Still, it’ll be interesting to gauge audience reaction in three weeks’ time and, perhaps more importantly, how Fox’s star-studded biopic comes onto tracking.
The comparisons to A Star is Born will be inevitable, but if nothing else, surely Bohemian Rhapsody has what it takes to ensure Rami Malek is a strong contender for the Best Actor Oscar at next year’s ceremony. Time will tell.