As a young boy growing up in Tanzania and India, Farrokh Bulsara knew he was destined to make his mark in music. At the time of his death in 1991 at the age of 45, he was heralded as one of the most iconic figures in the UK and perhaps the greatest front man in rock and roll history. The world knew him by a different name: Freddie Mercury. The rousing documentary Queen: Mercury Rising traces the meteoric rise of Mercury and his band mates, and the ongoing popularity of their timeless contributions to the musical landscape.
Flamboyant, bold and eclectic, Queen consisted of four distinct personalities who somehow blended seamlessly in their artistic sensibilities. Each band member was an academic, and their intellect and instinct served them well as they molded an identity in the skeptical music industry. In their early days, executives knew they were special, but were confused as to how to best market them given their eccentric sound.
They were savaged at times by critics, but fans from all over the globe worshipped at their altar, especially in the aftermath of We Are the Champions and We Will Rock You – two of the most rousing anthems in modern music.
The film is a treasure trove for die-hard Queen fans and admirers of original artists who refuse to compromise their integrity for fleeting popularity. It’s blessed with insightful conversations with guitarist Brian May, assorted producers, managers, and other music industry insiders who witnessed the phenomenon firsthand. Excerpts from numerous concert performances highlight the depth of their artistry and features songs that have earned their place in the soundtrack of our lives. We learn the inspirations behind some of these tunes, and the keys to their creation in the studio. The film also spotlights the final act of the band’s reign as Mercury succumbed to complications from AIDS.
From their androgynous appeal to their unorthodox orchestrations and a-cappella harmonies, the band was a rare combination of the bizarre and the universal. Queen: Mercury Rising shows us how this quintessential band broke all the rules and why they still matter.
Directed by: Maureen Goldthorpe