‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ can’t break free from Malaysian censors

Rami Malek as rock icon Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. — AFP pic
Rami Malek as rock icon Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. — AFP pic

PETALING JAYA, Nov 12 — Malaysians are livid with censors for cutting a whopping alleged 24 minutes from Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic on Freddie Mercury, frontman of British rock band Queen.

Among the scenes which were removed was the music video of I Want to Break Free — the band’s 1984 hit song — and the scene where Mercury explains to his fiancee, Mary Austin, that he is bisexual.

The film directed by Dexter Fletcher and Bryan Singer was given a 134-minute runtime in the United States and United Kingdom with a PG-13 rating.

Malaysians, however, were presented with an 18 rating and scenes slashed, despite the websites of cinema chains like GSC and TGV stating runtimes of 134 and 135 minutes respectively.

Malaysians were quick to point out that the scenes which were trimmed by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board were largely of a homosexual nature and affected the movie’s plot.

They advised locals to catch the film elsewhere or wait for it to be available on Netflix.

The film starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury hit an eight-day total of US$77.265 million (RM323.39 million) at the box office worldwide as of yesterday.

The US$55 million movie also stars Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello and Aidan Gillen.

It tells the tale of the band’s meteoric rise to the top, their iconic songs and Mercury’s life.

The film generally received positive reviews, but many elements concerning Mercury’s personal life were rushed through, including his relationship with his parents and his early homosexual feelings.

It also showed Mercury approaching his band to ask for forgiveness after he learned he had HIV/AIDS prior to their historic Live Aid performance in 1985, but according to his partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was only diagnosed in April 1987.

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