Rocketman – screening tomorrow – is bold, imaginative and original

Considering that both David Furnish and Elton John were producers of this film, it’s a remarkably frank and unflinching examination of Reg Dwight’s rocky path to fame and its almost disastrous consequences. Even more remarkable is that Dexter Fletcher’s tells this challenging tale with such dazzling flair and imagination, offering up a thrilling, frenetic rock opera.

Taron Egerton is superb in the central role, unnervingly capturing the spirit of Elton John without ever lapsing into uneasy caricature. There is some solid support work from Bryce Dallas, Jamie Bell, and Richard Madden (as well as countless fun cameos from a roster of British acting talent). The film also benefits from brilliant costume design and choreography, exploiting both in set pieces that have the hallucinogenic quality of Ken Russell’s wildest excesses.

Comparisons with Dexter Fletcher’s work on Bohemian Rhapsody are inevitable, but this is a far superior film.  Freed from the plodding literalism that weighs down so many biopics, Fletcher instead shuffles John’s back catalogue in a way that is more akin to a jukebox musical, allowing Giles Martin to tinker fearlessly with sacrosanct tunes, bringing a lightness of touch to the toughest of scenes in a way that is bold, imaginative and original.

David Vass

Rocketman (15) Wednesday 9th October  10.30am & 7.30pm