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Rocketman 'is the bold, unflinching, honest film Bohemian Rhapsody could have been'


By Paul Winspear


Taron Egerton as Elton John. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby
Taron Egerton as Elton John. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby

An alcoholic. A cocaine addict. A sex addict. A bulimic. And a shopaholic.

Rocketman charts the highs and lows of the life of rock 'n' roll legend Elton John. It is unafraid to delve into the dark moments of the rock star’s life but still capable of bursting into song in classic musical fashion.

Taron Egerton stars as a young Reginald Dwight, a misunderstood and relatively unloved piano prodigy who changes his name to Elton John and embarks on a life of rock 'n' roll, writing songs with his friend Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and achieving fame and glory in his travels across America.

Although he isn’t the perfect Elton lookalike, Egerton flawlessly captures both the spirit and personality of the rock star in a wildly emotional performance, even gaining the appraisal of Elton himself. The same can be said for Egerton’s singing, which is impressively similar to Elton’s voice.

The most impressive aspect of this film, however, is director Dexter Fletcher, who brings an undeniable energy to an otherwise by-the-book biopic.

Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin and Taron Egerton as Elton John Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby
Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin and Taron Egerton as Elton John Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby

There are spectacular shifts into all-singing, all-dancing musical numbers, inventively intertwined with elements of fantasy. The influences of Gene Kelly and Ken Russell shine through, an unlikely synthesis at the heart of the film’s character, which brings about a striking inventiveness and ingenuity.

Rocketman explodes with colour, originality and a refreshing honesty about Elton John’s rollercoaster of a life.

Unsurprisingly, there have been many comparisons drawn between Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody, with Fletcher having salvaged the Freddie Mercury biopic after the sacking of Bryan Singer.

Both feature Oscar-worthy performances of rock stars struggling with their identity, with legendary musicians providing the jukebox to their films. Rocketman, however, is the bold, unflinching and honest film that Bohemian Rhapsody could have been.

Review: Charlie Hughes Star rating (out of 5) ****

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby
Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/David Appleby



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