Rocketman Soars High In Entertaining Biopic

From start to finish, Rocketman is a brilliant romp through the trials and tribulations of English songsmith Elton John (Taron Egerton). The film highlights each segment of John’s life through the surrealist malaise of his signature songbook. This is mostly where the film garners it’s brilliance. Without tramping over the main plot, the musical score merely enhances each part of the subject character’s low points up until his eventual resurrection from a detox clinic.  While many films in the biopic genre tend to verge on a singular narrow approach towards its exposition, Director Dexter Fletcher manages to overcome the limitations of such plot devices to create a story that is visually spellbinding. Between the writing, acting, and musical score, Rocketman never fails to deliver. 

Some Brilliant Casting Decisions 

Taron Egerton’s performance is nothing short of mesmerizing as he depicts the compassionate and often times ludicrous flamboyance of Elton John. Never campy but always on the edge of a cocaine-induced breakdown, Egerton’s work is worthy of accolades and he truly pushes the limits of Lee Halls script. But he is not the only standout performance. Jamie Bell comes to dominate almost every scene he is in as Elton John’s lifetime collaborator Bernie Taupin.  These shared scenes with Elton recovering in a clinic are heartwarming and the viewer truly gets a sense of the brotherhood they share together. 

Richard Madden (John Reid) is also worth mentioning. He is both intelligent and cunning as John’s love interest/manager. Madden garners the hatred of a sycophantic character without ever falling into contrasts of black and white. Madden inhabits the grey area of the human condition and owns it as John’s betrayer. In the end, every casting choice serves to enhance the character arc of Egerton’s transition from lonesome misfit from a broken home to the worldwide rock star. 

A Soundtrack That Compliments The Story

Above everything else, the musical score of this film is its ultimate star. There is not a single track that feels tacked on. From the title song to the grand finale of I’m Still Standing, Elton John’s life is marvelously bookended by his body of work. Compiled with the audio pastiche of the film are it’s transcendent musical sequences that verge on surrealism. When the song Tiny Dancer echoes on screen during an LA party one easily sees the level of despair the protagonist struggles with internally. The music is the tapestry upon which all of the film’s exposition develops and unfolds over the course of its three acts. This is a score being used for all the right reasons and each musical cue transitions into another part of the main characters life. It does not contradict or impose itself onto the viewer. The film houses an art style approach to its plot development as its choice of music is accompanied by a pastoral transcendental palette. Truly remarkable for a genre that usually sticks to a tried and true formula. 

The Verdict 

With everything flowing smoothly on a musical and visual motif, Rocketman is one of the most moving biopics to grace the genre. As s work of art and histrionic look at The artist’s life, Fletcher guides his cast towards a grand finale that is as grandiose as its protagonist’s wardrobe. Egerton manages to impersonate every facet of John’s persona right down to the way his plays piano. From the anguish of an abusive mother to the confinement of a rehab clinic, Egerton represents that part of Elton John’s darkest period with a bravado that only the greatest of biopics can hope to achieve   This film delivers on every front, from a deep plot progression to Mathew Margeson‘s score. Without a doubt, everything flows as it should in Rocketman and its a work of art that is worthy of revisiting years down the road. 

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About Anthony Frisina 57 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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