Rocketman: Review by @Kush_Hayes
I remember seeing the trailer for Rocketman right before my screening of Bohemian Rhapsody and thinking “Thats going to be special”.
I am happy to say this movie did not disappoint, unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, but that already was plagued with problems, its a miracle it was even completed and by Dexter Fletcher who already had his hands full with this project.
What a project it is too.
Most of it feel like a hallucination, and maybe thats how it should be presented. When we meet Elton John, he is checking himself into a rehab clinic and wearing the stage costume he was going to perform in at Madison Square Garden before he decided to walk off. And immediately from there we break into song to learn about the early life of Elton John, then known as Reggie Dwight who just happened to sit at his grandmother's piano one day and began to mimic a song he was listening too on the radio.
The song AND dance number leading to Reggies early discovery of talent is colored and shaded in a way it looks like we are watching a photograph from the 1950s. And thats just in the first ten minutes. This movie dares to keep changing its color format, and has lots of fun playing with green screen, digital effects, and even wire work capturing the vibe of that first performance in Hollywood at the Troubadour.
The story has similar notes youve seen in other music biopics. Much like many musicians who went on to be great, starts with a rough childhood where parents are neglecting their responsibilities, and not focusing on the child. The child displays some natural talent, which are thankfully encouraged from a third party thats never mom or dad. Of course drug abuse and a long line of bad decisions follow becoming a success. But its the relationship between Elton and his songwriter friend Bernie (Jamie Bell) and their journey climbing up the ranks thats different. They have great chemistry together and you believe these two are not only friends but have the best of intentions with one another and not looking for anything more but to make music they enjoy. They feed off each other a lot and its fun to watch their reactions when they realize they just successfully created a song together.
When you feel like we are slightly meandering in the story, we get a music number or blend of music numbers, all featuring the hits of Elton John, and each song has a different visual than the last which also facilitates the passage of time in our story. And of course we do not hold back any punches in this film with Johns experiences in rock n roll. Once we get to him realizing what an asshole his father just is, we get full on into all his demons, including drinking all day, lots of cocaine and lots of sex with lots men, getting to the point he doesnt even know where he is when he wakes up in his own bed.
Taron Egerton shows a lot of range in this movie. Not just in his acting, but I had no idea the man could sing or dance. 95% of the soundtrack is credited to him performing the music. And he plays to the back of the room when he is dancing in the streets, or on stage, or through a party, even through passages of time where they age him as we go along.
When Bryce Dallas Howard isnt flakey, shes downright just cold in performance where she makes your heart break for Elton John several times
I knew nothing really about Elton John before walking into tonights screening, and wasnt aware how deep his catalog went, recognizing songs that I never knew were his. This is a fantastic movie that was unapologetic in displaying its main character throughout his triumphs and failures. Because of its visual style, I would absolutely recommend seeing this on as big a screen as possible and will say its currently the best movie of 2019.
Five out of Six Blueberries
Rated R for language throughout, some drug use and sexual content