“I’m steel standing… (Yeah, yeah, yeah)” Rocketman does everything Bohemian Rhapsody misses.
Unveiled as part of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Rocketmanby Dexter Fletcher, had caused a sensation. While it will return this Friday evening on M6, followed by a documentary on Elton John, Première recommends this musical full of good ideas. And carried by an impressive performance by Taron Egerton (Kingsman).
Rami Malek could have made an appearance in Rocketman
The biographies of stars, whether they sing rock or not, fall into two broad categories: “authorized” and “unauthorized.” Rocketman, produced by Elton John, immediately falls into the first category, the official biography, validated by their subject himself. Who therefore agreed to be staged as the narrator of his own depression, his own narcissism and his various addictions – the film is told during a session between alcoholics in a clinic where the singer, disguised as a demon, gradually exposes himself and recounts his dazzling career. Childhood, the father who leaves and the indifferent mother, the meeting with the piano and with his lyricist Bernie Taupin, then planetary glory, drugs, homosexuality, everything happens, until the epiphany and the promise to forgive yourself to move forward. Either that or suicide and self-destruction. In short, the classic program of a post-war rock star. But what makes the price of Rocketmanis that the film fully assumes its status as a pop biopic and becomes an authentic musical comedy, where the actors themselves sing reorchestrated versions of Elton’s hits during electrifying dance sequences, precisely kitsch and wildly entertaining.
Standing ovation, laughter, tears and Rocketman sung in duet: Elton John and Taron Egerton made the show in Cannes
Rocketman has all the flamboyance the joy that was missing in Bohemian Rhapsodythe comparison with the latter is inevitable since the director Dexter Fletcher completed the Freddie Mercury biopic in place of Bryan Singer. But Fletcher had also shot Eddie the Eaglenot terrible biopic about a lame English skier with glasses, played by Taron Egerton : the latter embodies with crazy charm and energy a harlequin Elton John, a vortex around which swirls the equally charming and energetic Jamie Bell (lyricist Bernie Taupin), Richard Madden (the cunning manager/lover John Reid played less shark by Aidan Gillen in bohemian rhapsody)…
Like a West End musical transforming its musical material into pure scenic energy (the film is moreover written by Lee Hallwhich adapted Billy Elliott on stage with music by Elton John), Rocketman does not ultimately seek any truth about Elton John, but beauty and joy, a bit in line with what Clint Eastwood wanted to do with Jersey Boys. If we see the mechanisms, but it is also one of the characteristics of musicals to show us that in cinema everything is mechanism, order, machinery, choreography.
Rocketman: Focus on the film’s most difficult scene to shoot