‘Rocketman’ Review: A Dazzling Spectacle

Rocketman is a shattering yet dazzling look at one of the world’s most iconic performers. Taron Egerton gives such a fiery performance in the lead role that there were times during the film where the lines were blurred between Elton and Taron. I found myself doing double takes as it felt like reality was unfolding on the screen. Egerton’s performance was reminiscent of Jamie Foxx in Ray (a role for which he won the Academy Award) and evoked memories of Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Rocketman was a reminder to us all what Malek’s last film could have been. Bryan Singer’s film was merely a redacted version of Freddie Mercury’s life. Derek Fletcher’s Rocketman is vibrant and full of authenticity.

Rocketman

Writer Lee Hall has constructed quite a narrative spanning the origins of Elton John’s career up until he went to rehab in the ’80s. Hall’s golden thread throughout the film is Elton’s music which we see is a window deep into his tortured soul. Behind every colorful costume and lyrics about rocking crocodiles, was a man drowning in pain. No amount of pills, booze, or trysts with random men could fill that void. Egerton’s most difficult task was to embody this onscreen, and he does so in spades.

Rocketman

I loved how Hall’s narrative creatively used Elton’s journey through rehab to show how he became a better man. Lighting up the walkway to that group session he attended gave the scene an angelic glow as if he was finally on the path to enlightenment. Hall also didn’t shy away from exploring his relationship with Bernie Taupin (played brilliantly by Jamie Bell) and John Reid (played by the exceptional Richard Madden). The best way to describe these two is they were yin and yang. Taupin only truly cared about making music while Reid was focused on the fortune and fame that come from being a rockstar. One could even make the argument that they were symbolic of the good and evil that comes with being in show business.

While some might have an issue with the film including Elton John’s drug and sexual proclivities and had they cut it from the film, the result would have been a cinematic work of fiction. There’s simply no way of telling this mans story without discussing his demons. The allure of Rocketman is not Elton’s vast song library, its that he triumphs after going down a road which has killed many.

I loved how Hall’s narrative creatively used Elton’s journey through rehab to show how he became a better man. Lighting up the walkway to that group session he attended gave the scene an angelic glow as if he was finally on the path to enlightenment. Hall also didn’t shy away from exploring his relationship with Bernie Taupin (played brilliantly by Jamie Bell) and John Reid (played by the exceptional Richard Madden). The best way to describe these two is they were yin and yang. Taupin only truly cared about making music while Reid was focused on the fortune and fame that come from being a rockstar. One could even make the argument that they were symbolic of the good and evil that comes with being in show business.

While some might have an issue with the film including Elton John’s drug and sexual proclivities and would have cut it from the film, the result would have been a cinematic work of fiction. There’s simply no way of telling Elton John’s story without including his demons. The allure of Rocketman is not Elton’s vast song library, it’s that he triumphs after going down a road which has killed many.

Overall, Dexter Fletcher’s film is inspiring and bolstered by Egerton’s dynamite performance. I’m going to be curious to see how Rocketman does this weekend against Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and if award voters are going to recognize Taron’s performance in the fall.

 

'Rocketman'
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