The few good things about BoRhap: The Movie.

Film Bohemain Rhapsody is not a good film. The reasons have been rehearsed elsewhere and indeed the key weakness, the editing, for which the usually otherwise very good John Ottman received an Oscar, are covered in this video essay:



BoRhap's Oscar buzz remains a mystery. There were better performances this year and certainly better editing. But I pause at the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Ironically, A Quiet Place feels like the more worthy winner, but I appreciate why this might have been chosen.

Much of the time, the prefered option with any musical biopic is to have the actor also do the singing, lipsincing is rarely convincing, especially when a voice is so distinctive that if it emerges from another actor's mouth it just doesn't look right.

That's certainly true of BoRhap, but I can see why the members of the Academy thought the intergration of Freddy's voice into the footage deserved recognition.  Frequently, it appears in the background of scenes or in unexpected moments which feel spontaneous.

But the tour de force is the closing Live Aid sequence when Malek et al, helped by some extraordinary production design, recreate one of the most famous concerts in history, right down to Smith and Jones's introduction thrumbing in the background the band's stage entry.

The following video demonstrates the extent of the performance, directing (whoever that was)and sound technical achievements by comparing the film's version (with interpolations from a BD extra) and the original Live Aid footage. You could argue that the world didn't need a hi-definition remount of Live Aid in letterbox but one exists now and its mesmerising.



Admittedly, the sequence also reminds us of how the film's meta-editing choices fudge one of the film's narrative through lines.  One of the important moments earlier in the film is about the adoption of Radio Ga Ga as an anthem and how as well as showing Queen's collaboration it offers a chance for the audience to become involved.

Including that section of Live Aid as seen above would have provided the emotional apotheosis of that, but for some inexplicable reason we get Hammer to Fall instead, which is a fine song but doesn't have the same resonance within the film's narrative arc (such as it is).

But notice how Malek's imitation of Mercury is near perfect, down to gesture and facial expression almost the entire way through and how well synced they are throughout each song, from air punches to the business with the microphone stand.

Even if the actors playing the rest of the band aren't always in the "right" place on the stage, Malek is, almost to the inch.  Even the video's thumbnail shows the attention detail, right doan to how the singer holds his microphone.

Except of course, all this also does is to demonstrate just how magnetic a personality the real Freddie Mercury was on stage and so how much else in the film does a disservice to him and his story.  But I'll give them the Live Aid sequence, even if the wrong bits are in the film.

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