Rocketman ★★★½

Much better than I had anticipated, coming hot upon the heels of the thoroughly mediocre Bohemian Rhapsody. This proves the far superior film. Fletcher’s direction is so lively, rich in detail and stocked with a ravishing variety of musical sequences which take fuller advantage of the medium. We are also dealing with a superior music artist, and rounder characterisation. Whilst it plays fast and loose with chronological fact, cheekily outrageous even, the immersive, almost Fellini-esque narrative presentation excusably sidesteps such inquisition and pays credulous dividends. The personal melodrama and general themes of feeling unloved is very authentically charged, helping separate it from the rote Mercury telling. The ensemble is fantastic. I can’t remember Bell slotting so modestly into a film before, even guys like Madden and Donovan are killing it, and Egerton most certainly pays off. There are moments when you feel the narrative reaching a little for purpose through inner conflict and various self-destructive habits, but it does effectively bring the star to earth and capture his essence in a manner which will be hard to top. Like Last Christmas, better than you’d think, and a member of that class of contemporary music biopic that would’ve been a cradled comfort watch for me if found in my formative youth.

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