Sunday, June 2, 2019


Movie Name: Rocketman
Year of Release: 2019
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Starring: Taro Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Tom Bennett, Matthew Illesley, Kit Connor, Charlie Rowe, Tate Donovan, Celinde Schoenmaker, Stephen Graham, Sharon D. Clarke
Genre: Drama, Music
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Actor/Director Dexter Fletcher has followed his uncredited work on "Bohemian Rhapsody" with another take on an iconic musician, this time around the celebrated Elton John. The film introduces us to John as he's going through a meltdown, and joins rehab (to deal with his issues of alcohol, drugs and sex addiction). As Elton John admits to his problems, he takes us on a tour through his colorful life, starting with his childhood in England, where he had a supportive grandmother nurturing his precocious talent, and indifferent parents, who cared very little about him or his musical talent. As he starts becoming more serious about music, he meets Bernie Taupin, whom he forms a partnership with, with Taupin writing the lyrics and John composing the music. John also comes to terms with the fact that he is gay. As his popularity starts to soar, so do the drinking issues, drug problems and all sorts of other insecurities, which escalate to the point where he tries to commit suicide. As he's riding a wave of adulation, Elton John, escapes to rehab in order to understand his own issues, and decide on how to keep moving on.
"Rocketman", much like "Bohemian Rhapsody", fails to have much of a distinct point of view. Dexter Fletcher instills some moments of magic surrealism, but he fails to let it really soar and become a tale of excess, love and fear of abandonment, that is at its core. It's a film that for all its celebration of music, still feels and reads very much like a Broadway musical on the big screen (which means, it doesn't really use film as the powerful medium that it can be). It lacks a distinct visual language, one that represents properly the times that it depicts, but also the struggles that come with the act of creation (again, the representation of the 70s is diminished to people using drugs and wearing big shoes). Sadly, Fletcher simply illustrate a series of vignettes with some choreography, painting a rough sketch of someone's life, punctuated by lovely tunes, but in the end it all feels artificial, contrived and at points, almost in poor taste (the breakthrough scenes in therapy come to mind). What this film has in spades however, is the talented cast that gives it a considerable edge over "Bohemian Rhapsody". Taron Egerton is simply fantastic, both in his despair, but also eagerness, sweetness and sheer ambition (not to mention his singing prowess). It's a well rounded performance, with Jamie Bell and Richard Madden offering strong support. Sadly the talented Bryce Dallas Howard and Gemma Jones don't have much to do, but they're always welcomed presences. The cinematography from George Richmond is impeccable, as is the production design from Marcus Rowland and his team.