❉ The Life of Reg features a career best performance from Taron Egerton, writes Ben Peyton.
Living legend Elton John has been one of music’s most popular and flamboyant performers for over 40 years. Taron Egerton steps into his platform shoes and dons his spectacular spectacles in Rocketman, which tells us all about his early years as Reginald Dwight and his turbulent journey along the yellow brick road as he transforms into the man we know today.
Director Dexter Fletcher, fresh from the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, takes us back to when rock, and Elton, was young to bring us an extravagant and occasionally brutal look at Elton’s hedonistic lifestyle, his complex relationships with his family and song writing partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and his battles with addiction.
Taron Egerton once again shows what a talent he is as he effortlessly portrays Elton’s insecurities, arrogance, loneliness and generosity with a performance that goes way beyond an impersonation. Borrowing his subject’s traits and mannerisms, it’s an exaggerated turn that’s every bit as believable as it is enjoyable. And, boy, can he sing.
Ably backing Egerton up are a fine ensemble cast including a wonderfully understated performance from Jamie Bell, Steven Mackintosh is as cold as ice as Elton’s father, Richard Madden oozes style and sex-appeal as music manager John Reid and Gemma Jones brings her usual class as Elton’s grandmother, but Bryce Dallas Howard as his mother doesn’t quite get it right. Whilst she’s perfectly fine in her younger years, as time goes by, her ageing up fails to reach the desired cosmetic effect.
Featuring some wonderfully creative uses of some of Elton’s most famous songs, it’s a shame when they end prematurely. Musical numbers, not just sung by him, are worked into the story seamlessly and a lot of them acquire new meaning given the circumstances they’re used for. There’s an awful lot of attention to detail going on here and it’s full marks to the costume and make-up department for creating, or recreating, many of Elton’s unique looks, right down to the last sequin.
Rocketman is an exciting, explosive, outrageous and spectacularly inventive biopic that features a career best performance from Taron Egerton. Big, bold and brash it’s a cascade of colour and a symphony of sound which sheds some light into the origins of one of pop’s most beloved icons.
❉ ‘Rocketman’ (PG) opens in the UK on 24 May 2019. Director: Dexter Fletcher. Starring: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Jamie Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Tate Donovan, Stephen Graham. 121m.
❉ Ben Peyton is an actor, voiceover artist, husband and dad. Credits include Band Of Brothers, Holby City, Emmerdale and he was a regular in The Bill. You can find Ben on Twitter – @BenPeyton007 or at his website – www.benpeytonreviews.com.