Is this just fantasy? A film dedicated entirely to the upbringing of Queen?
Before I even get into it, a lot of people think this film is like a Queen musical and purely about the band. No, it is not. It is the creation of Freddie Mercury, his triumphs and his downfalls, and how he identified himself.
The directors of this film had every opportunity to make this a political message about gays, about race, about stereotypes and the music industry, but I am so glad they didn’t. We instead get Freddie Mercury as a raw performer, who finds that he doesn’t have much time and does what he thinks the industry wants him to do.
See this film made me relate to Mercury in the sense that he was of an ‘immigrant’ race surrounded by succeeding ‘whites’. Up until my later years in high school, I was pretty much the same. I had a bias against my own race, and I still do, although the difference between Mercury and I is that I didnt succumb to it, whereas he did. He changed his name, disliked people knowing his cultural background, even didn’t get along with his parents. It’s pretty much every ethnic child’s social upbringing. Thankfully, in today’s day and age we have moved to become a little more accepting of multiculturalism.
Now onto narrative. I will critique that this film was very rushed. I personally would’ve enjoyed a longer film that chose to go in depth for everything, how the band went at first, how they fought and made up a bit more. I’m not saying we didn’t get this, because we did, but it would’ve been more impacting if there were lengthier scenes which allowed more cinematic devices to take play.
The narrative is thorough though, in the sense that it covered majority of what audiences needed to see. For example, we see the band deal with record labels and managers. It is quite entertaining to see the band grow and appreciate each other as family.
I will also say that another flaw the film may have incorporated (I say may have as you may choose to disagree) is the fact that there was so much focus on our “villain”. Sure, we got the understanding of who this person was from the start, and we know he was always there in the background. But at the same time, he could have been a bit more cinematically removed. Give us Mercury when he was isolated more, show us the bands thoughts on this without Mercury on screen at all! This film is called Queen not Freddie Mercury for a reason, right?
Let’s get back to positives. This film also did very well with the show, not tell, which some of you may know is my biggest pet peeve when it’s not done right. From when it came to Mercury discovering he was gay to him realising he had AIDs. I have friends who cried in this, I only cried once. It pulls at emotional strings you never knew you had before because such is the story of Freddie Mercury.
In terms of portrayal of Freddie Mercury, Rami Malik’s performance was just phenomenal, especially when it comes to Live Aid. I don’t know how he managed with the buck teeth, but he did and he did it so well. I’ve heard people criticise Malik for not singing himself but honestly, its a movie about QUEEN. Why would they COVER songs when they can have the ORIGINAL since the film is about the ORIGINAL BAND? Malik did so well prepping for this film, binging Queen and even learning piano! Stop hating on the man, he did fantastic as an actor.
Look, if you’re not a Queen fan I wouldn’t tell you specifics of the characters, but if you haven’t seen it you must. Not for the band or for the music, but for the accurate portrayal of Freddie Mercury and the journey of someone who purely lived to get people involved with music. I, myself, am not a huge Queen fan, but I have always admired the drive of someone who is so passionate that they stick to what they want to do and achieve until the end, which is exactly what Freddie Mercury did.