Tag Archives: Music

What to Watch? Bohemian Rhapsody

I saw this movie the weekend before last, before it came out in Australia and the US. I’m sorry to post it only now, but as you know, I was busy with my Blog Tour. Here’s my review of that long-awaited movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody

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Cast

I must honestly say that when I heard Rami Malek was going to play Freddie Mercury, I thought ‘wtf?’ I didn’t think he looked anything like Freddie and thought he wouldn’t be able to pull it off. But he did. He portrayed him beautifully. Yes, the teeth were a bit too much, I never thought Freddie’s teeth were that prominent, but maybe it was the mustache that hid that. 

Gwilym Lee was very well cast as Brian May. I actually had to look twice sometimes to make sure it wasn’t Brian May himself. I saw him recently at a lecture in Aberdeen, and he looked exactly the same as so many years ago (perhaps some more grey hairs :D). Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon were more easily picked as lookalikes.

I actually didn’t know the story of Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton, and her relationship with Freddie, so I can’t compare Lucy to the real Mary.

Plot

Most people already know the story of Queen. How Freddie got to join the band, how they struggled with conformity, how they kept on making hit after hit, that they had a lul in their performances, and how Freddie looked ill when they resumed their creativity due to, as was later revealed, him suffering from AIDS.

My sister took her daughter to the cinema the other day to see The Nutcracker. I asked her how it was and she said, “The story was very predictable.” Um, sis, everybody knows the story of The Nutcracker. That’s not what you’re going to watch it for. Likewise with Bohemian Rhapsody. You’re not going to watch it to find out what happened. You’re going to watch it to relive that moment of glory.

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What I liked about Bohemian Rhapsody

I loved, loved the way Rami Malek portrayed Freddie. He did an awesome job crawling under his skin. I loved hearing Freddie perform again. It was entertaining to see his quirkiness, his perseverance, his perfectionism. I liked seeing that Queen was a group performance. Yes, Freddie was their frontman, but as was clear in the movie, Freddie was nothing without the others.

I loved Mike Myer’s guest role as Ray Foster, the EMI executive.

What I didn’t like about Bohemian Rhapsody

Let’s be honest; the storyline was crap. ‘Oh, but that’s what happened,’ I hear you say. Yes, and that’s exactly what I think is the problem with this movie. It is a string of events. There is no real storyline, no build-up of anything. No character arcs, no tension build-up, nothing. Just one event after the other. But this is a movie. It needs a storyline. I had expected better.

A lot of people complain that the movie doesn’t portray the ‘real’ Freddy Mercury. I agree, but that’s not what the film is about. It’s about Queen. Freddie was only a part of it. I guess the movie failed in this respect because it was advertised wrongly and expectations were not met.

Summary

Bohemian Rhapsody is a must to watch if you’re a fan of Queen. Don’t watch it to see the private life of Freddie Mercury. Don’t watch it to see a great story. Watch it for the music, to relive that wonderful time when Queen ruled the charts.

Fantastic Song As Powerful As A Novel

Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier

As I’ve just finished Book 2 of the Suckers Trilogy, I’ve already been looking out for songs to play while writing Book 3. As it’s going to be the grand finale of the trilogy, it’s going to be a lot darker than the first two books. Hence, the music is going to be dark as well.

I hadn’t heard of Hozier until his song Take Me To Church, which always reminds me of the Amazon series Preacher. I don’t know how I came upon the song Arsonist’s Lullaby, probably a follow-up on the YouTube list of Brothers Bright. It just sang out to me.

The song starts with two verses, followed by the chorus, and alternating a verse and chorus twice thereafter. If you follow the structure of a novel, this is comparable with the beginning, the middle, and the end. However, the beginning has two verses instead of one. That’s the hook. The story told in those two verses draw you in. What happens next? You want to hear the next verse.

Each verse can be seen as a chapter and has a character arch. Next to this, the verses tell the story of a man as he grows up. ‘When I was a child…’ is the start of the first and second verse. ‘When I was sixteen…’ is the opening line of the second verse, and the final verse starts with ‘When I was a man…’ Chronological story telling, working toward the climax of the present. What is he now, if not a man?

The chorus is the bit that intrigues me the most.

All you have is your fire
And the place you need to reach
Don’t you ever tame your demons
But always keep them on a leash

The first sentence speaks of a very deep loneliness, the second of a need that helps to fill that loneliness. Why is he lonely? What is that place he needs to reach? The third and fourth sentence tell you about the darkness that surrounds this man. Why is he in this dark place? Why doesn’t he want to kill his demons?

The music begins with the acapella humming of a choir, quickly replaced by a powerful beat that stays steady throughout the whole song. It’s the backbone and gives the song its strength. When the chorus starts the first time, only angelic singing is added in the background, giving it an ominous feel. At the start of the third verse, maniacal piano tunes replace the choir and as the singer talks about the birth of an arsonist, it gives the song a destructive edge. Last verse is intensified by the voice of the singer, but ever so slightly, and the addition of cymbals. The drama of the song ends in the simplicity of only the voice of the singer and the beat, back where it began but with a history that is tangible.

You like Hozier’s voice or you don’t. I think it is perfect for this song as there is a lament to it that not everyone has. It adds drama and depth.

All in all awesome!

If only I could write a book as good as this song.

Kudos to VeritasProductions who edited her video (season 2 of Daredevil) to the beat. Her timing is perfect. I’m definitely going to watch the episodes now  🙂 .