Last week I managed to get out to the theatre to catch Bohemian Rhapsody. This film has had some polarizing reviews, and I can see why. For me, this movie should have had more of an edge to it. Much like I think ANY David Bowie future film should try to capture the entire man, and his intricacies and eccentricities. Much can be claimed here. In some ways I feel like I watched Theory of Everything where it was based, in part, on the recollections of Stephen Hawking’s ex-wife. Well of course she’s going to made out to be better than it likely really was! Perspective is everything, and this is no different.
We start the film of Freddie Mercury, when he was nobody, Farrokh Bulsara of Parsi decent, working unloading baggage at the airport. He likes clubs and hanging out and meets upon a band who lost their singer who felt he had better options elsewhere. In comes Farrokh, and provides an impromptu audition and manages to impress the singerless group. We meet Freddy’s family (Mother, Father and sister) where there is nothing but some questioning of where the young man can ever end up. It’s more cliche really than anything else. How many times do we see a supportive family (especially a father for a young man looking to play music?). But nevermind.
For me, I wondered about the treatment of Freddy’s personal life, and how he chose to be. He was married early on and then later lived as a gay man. I didn’t expect, and don’t believe the Freddy Mercury would live the life shown in the film with the lights from separate rooms with his wife, with him by himself. Maybe I am jaded and conditioned to think that all rock stars are constantly in a party state with an entourage and party goers. Maybe he lived more solitary life. Maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I don’t believe it. I think Mercury was a larger than life personality who did everything to extreme and excess!! He would be the centre of attention and have and take all that he wanted. This is briefly depicted but not convincingly nor enough.
I wish we had seen more creativity and the inspiration for these songs. It’s the real genius at work, with songs that will last forever. The creative process is fascinating, and understanding the influences and how they chose to make their sounds and put them together would be an amazing story unto itself. It isn’t there much. There is a silly Mike Myers cameo that added nothing for me. In the end, I felt that this was not a story or the true Freddy but a story that others wanted to tell on his behalf; a toned down PG rated version. Who gains from this? Perhaps the surviving members of the band. His Wife. Not sure. If there was ever a rock star life that deserved an R rating, it was Freddy Mercury. David Bowie too! Let’s hope that any David Bowie project looks better, and respects the artist fully – unlike what I anticipate that Rocketman (preview at this film) will be for Elton John which comes out next year. No thanks.
I also watched last week, Red Sparrow. Oh Jennifer Lawrence what is it about these projects that you are selection for yourself? Another turkey with this one. A young Russian ballerina cut down by an injury and sold out by her Uncle to this ultra-nasty group of spies/chaos inducers/special forces, who use their bodies to get what they need. The story is messy and convoluted. The agent/double agent mystery doesn’t unfold well, and the ending is contrived. I cannot recommend, and wish that JLaw, would find something more substantial and better for her talents (Passenger, Mother! and others are beneath her).