After previously teaming up to great results in “Eddie The Eagle”, director Dexter Fletcher and star Taron Egerton reunite to bring us one of the more unconventional biopics of recent times, “Rocketman”, which tells of the rise to fame and subsequent struggles with fame and addiction of Elton John.
Unlike other films of its type in which we see scenes of a musician’s life story mixed in with musical interludes of notable live performances (such as “Walk the Line” or “Bohemian Rhapsody”) the music of Elton John is weaved into the narrative and dialogue of the story, and each song is put into the context of what is happening at that moment in the film. This can be a bit jarring at first, but once the film settles in, and you get on board, everything clicks really well. It would have been a disservice to the flamboyant nature of the man himself to take the pedestrian route in telling his life story, and while the film might not be the most accurate in terms of the chronology of when the songs were released, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Crucially, and at Elton John’s insistence, his serious addictions and diva-ish behaviour aren’t sugar coated or watered down as to do so would feel immediately transparent. To his credit, Egerton jumps into this head on and it is no less than the story deserves. Not only does he bring Elton John to life on screen, but he performs all of the songs himself and while his voice doesn’t match Elton John’s exactly (whose could?) more importantly he captures the spirit of the songs. The Academy have already set a precedent by awarding Rami Malek the best actor Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody”, so nothing less than a nomination for Taron Egerton would be an egregious snub. He is brilliantly supported by Jamie Bell as Elton John’s long time song writing partner Bernie Taupin, a mild mannered, fame shy character that Bell absolutely nails.
“Rocketman” stands firmly as not only a great, albeit non-traditional biopic, not only a great musical, but a great movie regardless of genre. Like the music of the man who inspired it, it will hopefully stand the test of time as well.
These are the humble and learned words of our man Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff
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