Bohemian Rhapsody movie review

Nambucca Heads was just a teensy bit star-struck on Thursday night, as rock royalty graced the Majestic Cinemas.

Australia’s foremost music authority Glenn A Baker made the pilgrimage to the Heads to open this weekend’s music film festival which featured the premiere of the much-anticipated Bohemian Rhapsody (the Freddie Mercury/Queen story) last night.

In his signature hat, Glenn A Baker treated the crowd to a taste of what is to come this weekend, from the classic 1935 Marx Brothers’ farce ‘A Night At The Opera’ – so chosen because its title references Queen’s fourth studio album which skyrocketed their career, and because of its irreverence to the notion of high art – to the epic four-hour marathon documentary Woodstock – with an interval for those who are bladder-challenged – to Prince’s first feature film Purple Rain which gave the world the iconic ‘When Doves Cry’. 

Glenn said it was tough to choose just six movies to feature from his shortlist of 150, and promised he’d be back next year to give a leg up to those which just missed this year’s cut.

Bohemian Rhapsody

One of my favourite cinema experiences is when a crowd spontaneously bursts into rapturous applause as the end credits start to roll.

Who are we clapping? Who cares! The moment clearly warranted it.

And while I was sat in a darkened theatre with a group of people who had been eagerly anticipating this premiere and the chance to live vicariously again through the soundtrack of their youths, the pace and pure spectacle of Bohemian Rhapsody had an intoxicating effect that would surely stir the heart strings of even the most hardened film buff or music snob.

And with a killer (queen) soundtrack, it’s surely an audio-visual experience not to be missed.

The movie is not without its foibles – the biopic uses creative licence in its fabrication of Mike Myer’s record executive character who threatens that the unwieldy six-minute title song would never get any airtime and lacked the ability to get teenagers bopping their heads with its progressive glam-rock/opera aesthetic.

But the suspension of disbelief pays off when you realise the casting in-joke; it was a mulleted Mike Myers who gave Bohemian Rhapsody a renaissance in that now iconic Wayne’s World scene which features he and Dana Carvey head-banging along to the Queen song in their car.

The movie is also light on actual biographical information about Queen’s frontman, the mercurial Freddy.

There is nothing about his childhood in Zanzibar, nor any fleshing out of how a migrant boy from a conservative Zoroastrian (Parsi) family had become so unapologetically fabulous. 

Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury and Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor

Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury and Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor

Nor is there much breadth of character development of the other band members.

So with a lightness of narrative, it is a marvel that this movie manages to take you so convincingly along for the ride, which it does.

Perhaps this is down to the impeccable performance of Rami Malek who embodies the persona of one of the greatest stage performers of the twentieth century from the minute he trims that signature moustache and wiggles in his stonewash jeans in the opening scenes.

Perhaps it’s because there’s simply no time to question anything between the last chuckle and the next foot-stomping anthem.

Whatever the reason, there was nothing forced about the applause at the end of the movie last night, nor the smiles on diles and glints of teenage excitement in the eyes of the 60-or-so locals who emerged from that experience.

My partner was so impressed (despite being a thrash metal fan in his youth) that he said he could easily watch it over again, back-to-back, and has vowed to teach himself the bass riff from Another One Bites The Dust today. 

I highly recommend treating yourself to a cinema ticket to see this one. 

Bohemian Rhapsody is screening several times daily at the Majestic cinemas at Nambucca Heads, and Glenn A Baker’s Music Film Festival is on until tomorrow. 

Visit Majestic online for session times