Every year a multitude of biographical films arrive at our cinemas, but those that are really worthwhile for the way they approach the real case they are adapted to are still a minority. Rocketman is one of them. The film about the life of Elton John arrived in cinemas this year without making as much noise as Bohemian Rhapsody, and it's a shame because it is a much more inspiring work.
Next we will review the reasons why Rocketman stands out above the usual average in biopics, thus becoming one of the most stimulating films of the current billboard.
Most biopics try to exalt their protagonist and exaggerately obviate or make up the most thorny aspects of their lives. Sometimes it is a consequence of a superficial review to try to address all the great successes of their careers - and not necessarily of musical artists as demonstrated by Pelé, the birth of a nation, but in Rocketman that problem is avoided by tackling both Elton John's homosexuality and his problems with drugs.
In fact, the film starts with the arrival of its protagonist at a meeting of anonymous alcoholics that will serve as a thread to review different stages of his life. A rather ingenious solution for him to show himself and how his past has been affecting him to become the person he was then. And is that even he tries to sell a version for all audiences of his life to discover that it was much more complicated.
From the lack of love of his father, reinforced notably in the forced reunion as an adult, to the disinterest of his mother, more concerned about endorsing it to his grandmother than for anything else, the notes on his innate talent for the composition and the inevitable review of how some of his most celebrated themes came to light, but also how his personal life is sinking and he takes refuge in drugs and alcohol to move forward.
Elton John himself said that he had such a life. This detail is essential to offer a much more complete view of his person, although then everything related to his homosexuality there are countries that choose to censor him. It is commendable that such a thing be treated so directly when Hollywood had shown remarkable resistance and hopefully it does not stay in an oasis in the desert.
Obviously there have been more rough details and the story behind many songs. There it was impossible to cover everything in such a short time, but the film works very well with what is included. After all, it is a movie, not a translation into images of his life. In fact, there are times when the film almost seems to disconnect a little from reality to better capture that magic of Elton John's talent. That is what must be done and not opt for excessive exaltation as in Snowden.
At the time we ended up delighted with the transformation of Rami Malek into Freddie Mercury, but our enthusiasm cooled as we went through the scenes and discovered some tricks that were used in the songs. In Rocketman the metamorphosis of Taron Egerton in Elton John is somewhat inner. Yes, his hair is modified somewhat and his characteristic look looks, but the real achievement of the protagonist of Kingsman: Secret Service is to become John inside.
The first thing that Egerton transmits is that he has really understood who and what John was like at that time, assimilating him at all times to the attitude he transmits to his interpretation. That is then transferred to the gestural reactions, where great flaunting is beyond the costumes to ensure that everything fits perfectly to its reference. And finally, Egerton embroiders the songs, being him who really sings them. A challenge at the height of very few other actors.
There were two preferential options when making a movie like Rocketman. On the one hand, a conventional biopic with songs here and there to have the best known themes, but you could also opt openly for the musical as a preferential genre, which is exactly what Dexter Fletcher does.
Here the songs serve in the majority of occasions to advance the plot instead of serving as an isolated event more or less memorable. That allows Fletcher a staging job very different from that of Bohemian Rhapsody, where it was him who helped finish the film after the “exit” of Bryan Singer.
Here that affects the structure of the film and its own visual style, making it clear that there is greater momentum in all musical numbers, even when Egerton is not on stage and it is Kit Connor and Matthew Illesley who give life to younger versions of John.