A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “ROCKET MAN” – 7.0
In a word: Eccentric
This is a great movie for fans of Elton John, the British rock and roller who has sold over 300 million records in his lifetime.
The movie focuses on the early life of the rocker in England, his conflicts within the family with whom he has limited attachment and later, his natural immersion into the world of rock music mostly through natural talents which he developed on his own.
The high points of the movie are witnessing the emergence of an entertainment genius, wildly eccentric in flair and dress, and seemingly addicted to the roars of the adoring crowds. Meanwhile, John struggles with coming out of the closet, finally admitting he is a gay man. This doesn’t go well with his mother and father. Finally, wealth and success draws the artist into the abyss of addiction to most every substance imaginable, for which he eventually seeks out long range therapy and treatment.
At the end of the movie, we learn that John has evolved into a sober person for 28 years, and proudly married to another man, on the heels of new British laws that allow for gay marriages.
If we were to categorize the film, we would have to call it a musical drama. As the film moves along, we are treated to non-stop (and very loud) samples of Elton’s music which comprise twenty-two songs from beginning to end, often as a backdrop to the storyline. Within his niche, his music is good, but you would have to like, or love, rock music in its repetitive format which, to my mind as a classically trained musician, begins to sound like the same song and the same rhythms over and over.
The film centrally focuses on Elton John as played by British actor, Taron Egerton who gives a magnificent and realistic performance, likely to be nominated for many awards. It was interesting to note that Egerton did his own singing, no dubbing. To his credit, the sound was very much Elton Johns.
Dexter Fletcher directed the film, capturing the essence of Elton John and the world he survived. I would have preferred to see a bit more substantive drama and less of the repetitive street scenes where the cast members are dancing and singing reminiscent of Bernstein’s, West Side Story.
The movie is R rated, mostly because of the sexual references and some scenes which overtly clarify John’s attraction to the same sex. It’s a movie without ubiquitous firearm violence and computer generated monster characters that now dominate the film industry.
I give the film a 7 out of 10.