Movies

Movie review: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Uneven film is both a loving homage and a caricature of the life and times of Freddy Mercury and Queen

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 11/2/18

Although Bryan Singer is given credit as director for “Bohemian Rhapsody” — the new film about Freddy Mercury and his rise to fame with the 80s rock band Queen — Singer’s apparent erratic on-set behavior ...

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Movies

Movie review: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Uneven film is both a loving homage and a caricature of the life and times of Freddy Mercury and Queen

Posted

Although Bryan Singer is given credit as director for “Bohemian Rhapsody” — the new film about Freddy Mercury and his rise to fame with the '80s rock band Queen — Singer’s apparent erratic on-set behavior that resulted in him being fired by the studio within weeks of its completion unfortunately shows on-screen.

The film starring Rami Malek as Mercury is sure to be a hot item for fans of the band and their iconic music. Even today, crowds can be brought to their feet as soon as they hear the first beats to “We Will Rock You” or the first riffs to the eponymous head-banger song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But, what is largely forgotten is the band’s history and Mercury’s powerful presence that came to a tragic end in 1991 with his death from AIDS.

All of this seems to be the perfect set of ingredients for a movie, and apparently for a while they appeared that way to Singer, who in media reports characterized it as a “passion project” for him.

What happened? Apparently, an upcoming Esquire magazine story will offer some answers, but whether that interests you or not, the film is in theaters now.

To me, it is an uneven film that is in many ways both a loving homage and a caricature of the life and times of Freddy Mercury and Queen.

The music is there, of course, lots of it, especially a longish and rather faithful recreation of the band’s legendary performance at the July 13, 1985 Live Aid  benefit concert at London’s Wembley Stadium. And, Malek’s performance often hits the mark, giving the audience a glimpse of what Freddy was like on stage.

But (you knew this was coming), the direction and Malek’s performance sometimes slide into a vision that can only be termed cartoonish.

Freddy, born of Parsi descent in London as Farrokh Bulsara, was widely known as a flamboyant personality whose masculine-sexual energy was infectious. Translated to the stage and recordings, these elements helped propel the band to unstoppable fame.

But, as is so often the pattern in these kinds of films, the peaks and valleys of the plot are a well-worn path depicting the lead character’s initial excitement at being discovered for something he or she always knew they had, their rise to fame and fortune, the influence of hangers-on, the booze, the drugs, and the eventual slide into diminution.

Had Singer’s approach taken a more artistically expressive path, one that drew upon Freddy’s personal truth with an unafraid R-rating, this might have risen to something truly memorable.

Tempo grade: C

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is rated: PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
MPAA rating: PG for some mild peril.
Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

This adaptation of the short story and ballet was directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston.

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key — a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer's (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key, which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world.

It's there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara's key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Film co-stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, and Misty Copland.

This film is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For showtimes, tickets and additional information, call (751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

The Wife
MPAA rating: R for language and some sexual content
Taos Community Auditorium

Behind any great man, there's always a greater woman — and you're about to meet her.

Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) is a highly intelligent and still-striking beauty who appears to be the perfect devoted wife. She has spent the past 40 years sacrificing her own talent, dreams and ambitions to fan the flames of her charismatic husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce) and his skyrocketing literary career.

During that time, she has ignored his infidelities and excuses because of his "art" with grace and humor. Their fateful pact has built a marriage upon uneven compromises. But, Joan has reached her breaking point.

On the eve of Joe's Nobel Prize for Literature, the crown jewel in a spectacular body of work, Joan's coup de grace is to confront the biggest sacrifice of her life and secret of his career.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 4) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Nov. 5-7) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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