Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ falls flat

Michael Olderr, Contributor

Queen is one of the most influential bands of the century. Their songs are so iconic that many have been embedded in the minds of those who have never even heard of Queen. It’s a shame that the movie about their career does not quite cut it.

While the film has the elements of a good movie, most of it is seemingly lost on the edit room floor. The film is rushed and forgets itself sometimes up until the last act when it starts to pick itself back together, only to overstay its welcome at the climax. It might engage some fans of the rock band, but for others, it will just make them feel lost.

The film’s problems are apparent from the get-go as its opening credit montages start in two different places at the same time. It starts out with a slo-mo of what we are supposed to understand is Freddie Mercury leaving his mansion and then  does the same thing again but from his trailer at the concert he left his house to go to. This kind of inconsistent flow is present throughout the film’s run. Some subplots that are introduced at the beginning of the film completely disappear and are only brought back at the end of the movie with no real sense of conclusion. Key characters come in at the blink of an eye and are not really introduced in the story, so you really donʻt know who they are unless you are a dedicated follower of Queen.

That is not to say that the film is awful. There are a couple of places where the film does things really well. The songs are performed beautifully and had several audience members singing along to it in the theater. Freddie Mercury’s struggle and discovery of his sexuality is authentic. It evolves to something he wholeheartedly embraces. Another of the film’s strong suits is its third act. That is when the story that this film is trying to tell manifests, and it is edited much better than the other two acts. Its pacing is fairly decent although still has its issues. The main message is that while Freddie was the lead singer, he is not Queen; it was a group effort on everyone’s part. And that is something that is present (albeit barely) in the film with different members thinking up different songs. However, that whole meaning loses some of its impact because of how poorly the other members of the band were set up.

So, in the end, the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” despite its good material, does not quite deliver on what it aspired to be. It is a real shame because while none of the content in the film is “bad,” it has no real setup. Though there is enjoyment in this movie, it is buried in lost potential, but you can find it if you wait it out through the film’s six montage segments.

This article was originally published in the Nov. 9, 2018 issue.