After a long and torturous production, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally reached cinemas this month. The general verdict is that it’s basically alright, with critics saying it does the job of telling the story of Queen but contains little in the way of inspiring sequences other than the concluding Live Aid concert.
One big worry going in was that the film would skate over Mercury’s sexuality, filing the edges off the star’s famous decadence in the hope of securing a commercially friendly rating and not turning off more conservative audience members. That more or less turned out to be the case, and star Rami Malek (who played Freddie) certainly wishes they could have gone just a little further in showing the ‘real’ Mercury.
In an interview with the Australian magazine Who, he said the following:
I just kept pushing for more of that aspect of his life. I don’t know if we ever felt fulfilled by it.
While it’s not surprising to hear an actor say he wishes his character was explored a bit deeper, Malek’s absolutely right. I’ve got nothing against the other members of Queen (Brian May’s badger advocacy is a noble pursuit), but let’s face it, Mercury was the interesting one. I’d love to see a film that was bold or smart enough to really understand what made him tick and wasn’t afraid to show what he was really getting up to in those notoriously wild parties. However, Malek says he understands why the movie didn’t focus more on Mercury, reasoning that the film already had so much to cover in just telling the story of the band.
When all’s said and done, I definitely enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody. Simply hearing those kickass songs played through a movie theatre’s impressive sound system and that undeniably brilliant Live Aid sequence that rounds out the film are probably worth the price of a ticket alone. But I think there remains a movie to be made about Freddie Mercury and I really hope someone makes it one day.