• by Wes Singleton

Bohemian Rhapsody- C

The middling, bland Queen rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” will not rock you nor is it a champion of great filmmaking. The film is enlivened by the energetic turn from “Mr. Robot’s” Emmy-winner Rami Malek as flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury’s as well as some classic Queen tunes, but the lackluster, benign story tends to simplify too much of Mercury's and Queen’s story. During the early 1970s, aspiring songwriter Farrokh Bulsara, later known as Freddie Mercury (Malek), forms the rock band Queen alongside his new friends Brian May (Gwilyn Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) with his supportive girlfriend Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton). Their career is successful against all odds of getting their music to be heard. In 1985, the band is given the chance to perform at Live Aid Considering everything, the bland “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a big disappointment, providing little revelations, but there are some good moments as long as it’s focused on the music, which is unsurprisingly the highlight of the film along with a nimble turn from Malek as frontman Mercury. The film nearly bites the dust when it tries to shed light into Mercury’s personal life, which still leaves you wanting more. That said, the main thing wrong with “Bohemian Rhaposdy” is director Bryan Singer (of “X-Men” fame), who is the wrong person for the material, as his bland direction and Andrew McCarten (“The Theory of Everything”) uneven screenplay lacks grit considering all that Mercury and the band endured. It’s also annoying that as good as Malek is as Mercury, he’s never more than a colorful cardboard cutout, not to mention that Singer couldn’t have done more to hide Malek’s bulging false teeth to display Mercury’s famous overbite. The creative behind the scenes processes are handled better, and the final, extended Live Aid scenes are by far the most energetic yet even those aren't without flaws as the screenplay considerably alters the timeline of Mercury’s HIV diagnosis as a motivation for the band at the big concert, which took place a full 2 years before his actual diagnosis. “Bohemian Rhapsody” could’ve been more exciting considering the talent, its source and overlong run time of 134 minutes. There’s still some crowd-pleasing scenes, but it’d be more satisfying to listen to some of Queen’s tunes than sit through the film version.