To the Egerton and back: This rocket is well worth the ride
A review of the new film about Elton John
It would be grossly unfair to begin any review of Rocketman, the story of Elton John’s life, without first mentioning the breathtaking performance of its lead, Taron Egerton. It’s not an easy tightrope to walk: balancing the broken emotional world inside the character with the outer side of his personality that sees him breaking out of the family mould and – quite literally – swinging his legs up into the air and onto the ivories. But Egerton does it to perfection. He becomes Elton John, and for that, I have no doubt he will be nominated for an Oscar when the time comes.
And then there’s the music. The film, just like its lead character, is an introverted extrovert and, through a carefully crafted structure, seamlessly blends the songs into the bigger picture and celebrates the unashamed campness of it all.
Anyone who is a fan – and let’s face it, those of us from a certain generation would be hard-pressed to deny loving him still – will enjoy the way each song is used to drive the narrative forward. Unlike a film like Mama Mia, in which the narrative is bent around the musical numbers in a way that makes one cringe, the true-story biopic of Elton John does the opposite as the lyrics speak to what’s happening in each phase of his life. There are, of course, certain cliches within that narrative (such as the naysaying cigar-toting music producer who sits on his swivel chair and initially disses the songs), but perhaps these are the cliches of the rockstar trajectory in real life, which are then augmented by the genre of the film...