Rocketman Review: Taron Egerton gives Elton John a biopic he deserves

Rocketman Review: There is a suspension of disbelief, as Elton John floats in the air playing his piano, in the minds of the audience and it's the honest extravaganza at the trusted hands of Taron Egerton that makes Rocketman, a delightful story about second innings.
Taron Egerton is the apt choice to bring Elton John's larger than life personality on-screen in Rocketman.Taron Egerton is the apt choice to bring Elton John's larger than life personality on-screen in Rocketman.
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Rocketman Director: Dexter Fletcher

Rocketman Cast: Richard Madden, Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell

Rocketman Movie Stars: 4/5

When you make a biopic on a musician who was as colourfully grandiose as Elton John was and is, you aren't allowed anything but larger than life! Taron Egerton was bestowed with the opportunity of playing Elton and the actor ran away with it. Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman does not blur the lines too much between fact and fiction. Instead, it gives us a microscopic view into the paradox mind of Reggie Dwight. And, Taron delivers a performance that Elton John deserved.

You are in for a surreal fantasy from the get-go as the first scene of Rocketman shows us an elaborately dressed Elton (a bedazzled orange devil costume) making an entrance to Yellow Brick Road while heading to rehab for drug, alcohol and sex addiction (the shopaholic quip in the end-credits was a nice touch). The singer then proceeds to recount the many mistakes of his troubled life, while dressed as an orange devil. Whether it be his relationship with his unloving parents who always talked him down or even his former long-time boyfriend and manager with business acumen, John Reid, we are given an open book into the life of one of the most fascinating and intriguing musicians known in history, Elton John. 

Taron sinks his teeth into a role he was born to play. What really convinced me of Taron's elegant portrayal was that he actually sings Elton's classics (instead of lip-syncing) and there wasn't a single moment when one felt that it wasn't actually Elton on-screen. For those who did not grow up listening to Elton's music, Taron's theatrics brings forward a whole new generation of fans for the legendary singer like it did for Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody. 

Rocketman is primarily a story about seconds chance and the power of friendship. As Elton's best friend and lyricist Bernie Taupin, Jamie Bell delightfully keep Elton's story grounded to reality. While fantasy and surrealism is a big part of Elton's life story, if there was one person who really loved him for who he was, it was Bernie. Taron and Jamie showed the true essence of the beautiful bond between Elton and Bernie, which still remains his strongest relationship to date. On the other hand, we had Richard Madden as the charismatic devil, John Reid. The lightbulb switch in Richard as he transforms from the supportive boyfriend to the gold-digging ex-boyfriend in mere seconds was impressive. The chemistry between Taron and Richard was tantalizing, to put it lightly. The much-talked-about sex scene between the duo did not shy away from letting go completely and flowed naturally with the storyline. Homosexuality was given acceptance and not treated as a plot point. Rocketman did not shy away from the stereotypical yet honest portrayal of Elton's past - sex, drugs and rock n roll. Unlike a typical pity-party storyline, Elton accepts his mistakes, which he enjoyed dearly, might we add.



Can’t stand him. @maddenrichard @rocketmanmovie @gavinbondphotography

A post shared by Taron Egerton (@taron.egerton) on

Music plays an incredible aspect in Rocketman and we are taken down memory lane with hits like Tiny Dancer, Bennie and The Jets and Honky Cat. Major moments in Elton's life are choreographies to his classics, whether it be a fight between his family or when he was taken to the hospital for an overdose. It almost felt like a musical, as it should be. One can't think of Elton without music or music without Elton. You also can't imagine Elton without his OTT costumes and in Rocketman, it's his colourful ensembles that add to the extravagant aesthetic.

While the editing was a risk which delivers in the end, the first half an hour of Rocketman seemed a bit like too stretchy and over the course of the film, it may get a bit exhausting as well. However, it's when Elton performs in Troubadour, LA, where there is a suspension of disbelief. Just like the crowd and Elton float and ascend to the heavens, so will the audience, after watching Dexter Fletcher's Rocketman. That was the power of Elton John. And so is Rocketman.

A poignant scene which is etched inside me will be when an agitated Elton tells his mother he is gay, and her response was you'll never be loved. However, after years of beautiful music and happy family life, it's safe to say, you are properly loved, Sir Elton Hercules John.

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