Why 'Rocketman' is better than 'Bohemian Rhapsody'
The new Elton John biopic delves deeper into the singer's darkest moments
There will be inevitable comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody with new Elton John biopic Rocketman, not least because Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher finished off the Queen film after Bryan Singer left the project.
But besides that and the fact that both music acts shot to fame during the 1970s and experienced personal upheaval during the late ’80s, the two films couldn’t be more different.
The life of the singer-songwriter born Reginald Dwight is presented as a musical rather than a straight biography, with John’s songs performed by the cast at pivotal moments instead of dialogue. That’s right, people burst into song – and it works spectacularly well, with Taron Egerton, who plays John, up for the challenge of belting out his best-known tunes.
In fact, Egerton perfectly embodies the music star, with no amount of extravagant costuming – and there are some doozies – overshadowing his portrayal of an enormously talented man plagued by insecurities and addictions.
The best a boy could wish for. My John and Bernie. #jamiebell @maddenrichard @gavinbondphotography on bloody fire tonight...
Also excellent: co-stars Jamie Bell, as John's long-time songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, and Richard Madden, who gives a hateful performance as the singer's manager and lover John Reid.
While Bohemian Rhapsody has been accused of glossing over the more complicated parts of Freddie Mercury’s life, the same cannot be said of Rocketman, which shows Elton John, foibles and all – and is all the better (and, quite regularly, surprisingly emotional) for it. (Out now) 5 stars
Gavin ScottA pop culture enthusiast from a young age, Gavin is equally passionate about great pop music (’80s synthpop, ’10s dream pop), gripping TV series (Friday Night Lights, The Handmaid’s Tale) and trips to the cinema (I love a blockbuster as much as anyone, but I’m done with the superhero thing).