Sitting through Rocketman is like taking a drug-fuelled trip through Elton John’s haziest and most wildly manic childhood dreams.
The new biographical musical film is based on the early life of musician Elton John and draws a raucous yet deeply depressing line from his early childhood days as piano prodigy Reggie Dwight to his rapid rise to superstardom as ‘Elton’ before taking a deep dive into his painful years of loneliness and addiction.
Rather than framing it as a more linear and historically tinged story, as so many biographies that play out on the big screen do, Rocketman instead explodes across the screen as a more of a string of stylised musical fantasy sequences, haphazardly woven together with a touch of drama and some show-stopping tunes.
Rocketman is a movie that chooses not to bother itself with anything as fussy as background details, audience-friendly timelines or anything that dares to skate too close to reality.
But boy, is it still one hell of an entertaining and emotional viewing experience.
Of course, it’s already been closely compared to 2018’s box office smash-hit, the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody. In some senses, the two films are very similar in that they both pay tribute to musical legends while showcasing their struggles with success, loneliness and sexual identity. But if you walk into Rocketman expecting it to play out in the same way that Bohemian Rhapsody did then you’ll just leave the cinema disappointed.