The British-American film “Bohemian Rhapsody”, launched in October 2018, became a sensational success in the world film industry and gained dozens of awards, including Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and others. The film earned titles of Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Mixing, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role etc.
The box office received 896 million dollars and with a budget of about 50 million dollars set a record for biographical and dramatic genres. Professional critics and tabloids, according to their status, were often unenthusiastic, but this did not deter Queen fans. You can find fault with the fact that in the on-screen version, not everything coincided with real life. But why should it coincide? This is not a documentary, but a feature film, a genre giving more freedom for the creators. For the viewer, more importantly, is the skill of the actors, cameramen, sound engineers, sound and video quality, which produces the final result - the emotional effect for which people go to the movies to experience.
For the millennials who did not have the experience of seeing Freddie Mercury live, this film became a real discovery and drew their attention to this high-quality rock, which is not even closely matched in modern pop music.
Thanks to the film, Queen's songs now occupy top places of the music charts, and the group is experiencing its third rebirth (the second was after Mercury's death). “Bohemian Rhapsody” became a hit not only on the screen, but also the main theme in Carnaby Street for Christmas and New Year in 2018, where each neon arch was a line from a song and where a Queen memorabilia shop was opened.
A team of about 15,000 worked on the film for eight years. During this time, actors, scriptwriters and directors were changed. Probably every fan of “Queen” had doubts before watching the film - how can you replicate the uniqueness of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon? It turns out that it was possible, and, moreover, very successfully. The lead roles of Remi Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello succeeded. Writers Anthony McCarten (the author of such Oscar-winning films as The Theory of Everything (biopic of Stephen Howking and the Dark Hours) and Peter Morgan, director Brian Singer created this hit biopic of Queen.
From the first minute, the film allows the viewer to feel like Freddie, going through the corridors and backstage, under dozens of cameras, with excitement growing with the background sound of drumming, onto the stage to the roaring Wembley stadium to his triumph - to the goal for which he was born. But all this comes at the finale of the film, for now after this introduction - we look at how it all began and how “QUEEN” developed.
Besides being a great actor, “a descendant of the Egyptian pharaohs” Rami Malek probably is mentally close to the “descendant of Zarathustra” Faruk Bulsara (Freddie Mercury) because they are both originated from the East, both are incredibly talented, plastic, slender and mysterious. Previously known from the TV series “Mr. Robot” Rami Malek, now as Freddie Mercury at the summit of fame, during numerous interviews showed no signs of VIP syndrome. On the contrary, with surprising dignity and modesty, he replied that the glory does not belong to him, but to Freddie Mercury. In general, it is pleasant to note that he does not show typical American bluster and narcissism.
The plot of the dramatic biography of Queen unfolds so dynamically and beautifully, with such a powerful emotional charge that 135 minutes of the performance pass unnoticed. Not a single extra phrase, not a single extra note, not a single prolonged scene! All live events of the group and its front man are accompanied by a laconic pulse of the soundtrack, assembled from their songs. But, unlike the musical, where the fillers most often inhibit the action, the Bohemian Rhapsody film is full with dynamics. Lyrical, tragic and comic moments are masterfully balanced in it. Here in the studio there are experiments on the sound of the drummer - then they pour water, then they scatter coins on the drums. Freddie squeezes out of Taylor the ascendant treble “Galileo! - Galileo! “Galileo!” from Bohemian Rhapsody in a village studio remote from civilisation, where imitating the sounds of nature helps to reach the right height (the rooster on the fence).
After the first successful recordings and the release of the album begins a cascade of tours around the world, fame, money, temptations. Life began to whirl around in different countries: an album — a tour — an album — a tour ... The eccentric Bohemian Rhapsody (from the upcoming 1975 album A Night at The Opera) 6 minutes long was perceived as an unheard-of cheek for the single and came across a dead barrier in the face of the radio studio manager. The formula for the radio is 3 minutes! But this was not for Freddie. Breaking formulas and breaking through inhibitions was his motto. “I’ve got to break free!” The manager made a bad mistake, and then bit his elbows (a successful intercept later on the song “We are the champions” - “No time for losers”). How was it possible for a limited type to know that before him was one of the founders of the genre of rock operas “It’s a pity there was no place in the film for the Barcelona rock opera, sung by Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, who recently joined him. At that time, the idea of a new genre was in the air - a hybrid of rock and opera, which many experimented on, but the first successful result was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970 success "Jesus Christ Superstar". Freddie Mercury’s love of classical opera, ballet and rock led to his bold experiment - the composition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
In the film, the contrasts typical of Freddie’s character are well emphasised. On the one hand, a strict religious family with ancient roots, modest work as a porter at the airport, on the other - a British education in the bohemian environment of a College of Art. Work in the studio and the release of albums is replaced, as in a kaleidoscope, with concerts in the country and foreign tours. After a triumphant rise and several years of hard work, there is a recession, and friction in the group about leadership and authorship leads to the group breakup and solo performing for Freddie, but after some time a reconciliation takes place: “What would you do without me? What would you do without us? ”
Freddie's private life
The filmmakers very closely, as if under a microscope, revealed to us the personality of Freddie, his relationship with his family, with his beloved girlfriend Mary Austin, with the group, with the producers, with the media. His ambiguous image is shown from different angles - confident and charismatic on stage, fluttering and tender with Mary, bold and uncompromising with managers, bold and rude with a tabloid press (as they deserved). Despite the love of fans and wide popularity among the people, Freddie suffered from loneliness and a split between the feminine and masculine elements of his personality. However, in the film, he looks rather unfortunate than wicked. It is difficult outing himself to Mary, to whom he is engaged, in the context of his bisexuality. Although she could not stand the test of life with a star and found another (simple guy), Freddie continued to love her and to take care of her generously for the rest of his life. Buying a luxurious mansion for himself, he bought a house nearby for her to see him flashing a light in his window and drinking a glass of wine with her as they spoke on the telephone. His relationship with her was more important to him than crazy carnival parties fuelled by alcoholic and drug intoxication. Of course, the love of the beautiful life, curiosity and thirst for thrills were the other side of his character, which ultimately ruined him, made the tragedy of his short brilliant life more acute. “Who wants to live forever?” After the vile machinations and betrayal by Paul, one of his producers, Mary's care forced him to look for a friend among men (a waiter at a party) who then stayed with him for six years until the end of Freddie’s life.
More than 30 years ago, society and the media condemned his freedom in choosing partners and his often-harsh responses to offensive and intrusive press questioning. Today, attitudes are changing towards progressive tolerance. Rami Malek convincingly and accurately embodies the delicate nature of the artist - in his pupils extended to the full screen and in a quivering voice, passion and suffering, despair and hope are reflected, in this regard, the strongest scene – when saying farewell to his beloved Mary in the rain.
Bisexuality, same-sex relationships and AIDS thirty years ago were a terrible stigma. But on the other hand, the Freddie’s fatal diagnosis, the lack of antivirus drugs, the charity foundation to fight AIDS, forced society to talk about this problem openly and this accelerated research on antiviral drugs and saved thousands of lives.
The main focus of modern clip editing is a mosaic of the key moments of the "Queen" biography along with music. Frequent close-ups - different face expressions, mixers of sound engineering console in the studio, hands on the keys or strings of the guitar - allow you to look inside the creative process of the cult group and feel their involvement in it. With the help of digital effects, we see something that we would never see in reality. Capture the spirit as the camera passes through the trailer running along the road with sleeping musicians, then through the whole huge stadium to the stage.
We are easily used to the special effects of the computer and its speed. Today, digital media can accommodate a huge amount of information, and a lifetime and its main events in more than two hours. Consultants guitarist Brian May and drummer John Deacon were delighted with the work of the actors who so faithfully portrayed the entire group. Look at Gvilym Lee - he looks like not only in appearance, but also in the manner of playing the guitar, externally aristocratically impassive, but with what expressive voice of solo modulations!
After the crisis and temporary disintegration, the next search for a landmark is on its way. The "Queen" group, at the suggestion of their faithful producer, support the initiative of the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium and is one of its biggest rock groups on a par with Elton John, Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams, Santana. The film features several songs from this concert - “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Gaga”, “Hammer to fall”, “We will rock you” and “We are the Champions” (later the Olympic anthem of Great Britain) was just like it had been in its reality. The best musicians of the world united voluntarily, in order to help starving Africa and collected more than a million pounds! If people were united more often with the same enthusiasm and consciousness, life would be much better!
The reconstruction of this grand unique concert marathon becomes the culmination and final chord of the film. The revived "Queen" has proved to itself and the whole world that this is not the end. These four guys can no longer breakup and part with each other and millions of viewers. They bear the responsibility of the legend. Freddie once again showed that he can control any audience - be it 72,000 people at Wembley or 100,000 people in Philadelphia who sang along with him.
Again, the glory of digital editing, which snatches individuals with happy tears from the cheering crowd and further raises the degree of a charity double concert - in London and in America. Why not continue such a wonderful tradition and not make such concerts annual, such as the London Marathon? One of the answers - most likely, it will not be possible to achieve such a level of heat.
But despite everything, the life of the group "Queen" continues.