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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jun. 3, 2019 2 months ago

Brilliant acting and directing make 'Rocketman' the latest musical hit

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The story of Elton John's rise to fame is lead by director Dexter Fletcher of "Bohemian Rhapsody."

"Rocketman" is positively smashing. The film hits all the right notes as it deconstructs the evolution of musical genius Elton John, who is brilliantly portrayed by Taron Egerton. 

In the opening shot, a red-feathered devil figure approaches us from down a long corridor. We soon discover it's Elton John about to attend his first AA meeting. After being seated, he admits that he's addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex and shopping. And, oh, by the way he also has an anger management problem.

Flashback to his childhood in the 1950s and we begin to understand how he arrived at that revealing admission. His father (Steve Mackintosh) was a prick, his mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) was self-absorbed and had his grandmother (Gemma Jones) not been loving and supportive, Reginald Kenneth Dwight may not have become Sir Elton Hercules John.

 

It became obvious at the age of 4 that he was a child prodigy and at 11, he received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. Elton's next big accomplishment was to team up with lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and the rest is musical history in the making.

Bernie and Elton became lifelong best friends, which explains how intimate and personal the lyrics that Elton didn't even write totally reflected what was happening in his life. And the beauty of "Rocketman" lies in the fact that these beautiful, electrifying and record breaking tunes take on a whole new meaning when we revisit them in the film. 

Director Dexter Fletcher, who also directed "Bohemian Rhapsody" (after Bryan Singer was fired), pays great attention to detail in this amazing piece of filmmaking. It's more of a true musical bulging with outstanding production numbers that are exquisitely choreographed. Opting for Julian Day as costume designer was almost as important as casting Egerton as Elton. The package of Egerton wrapped in Day's dazzling designs is truly worthy of the musical legend.

Egerton's performance is nothing short of mind-blowing. He looks, talks, walks and sings like the beloved pop star almost to the point of living in his skin. The range of emotions put forth by this gifted actor in this role will, most certainly, propel him to new heights.

As the film closes, an appropriate performance of "I'm Still Standing" is belted out. We're informed that Elton John has been sober for 28 years as true life photos reveal that he has finally found peace, love and happiness. Thanks for the ride, "Rocketman."

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