Film Review | Rocketman

There is no rock musician who defines extravagance, decadence and entertainment better than Elton John.

His songs are known by millions of fans; his concert performances are energetic and outlandish; his personal life is public.

What more could a filmmaker add to the rock legend that is Elton John?

Rocketman is the answer.

Music bio films often over-emphasise and exaggerate a performer's physical characteristics, such as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, or emphasise the tawdry elements of a lifestyle founded on sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Make no mistake, Rocketman is full of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

But it takes us beyond the debauched lifestyle that comes with fame and unimaginable wealth and provides the audience with a peek into Elton John's family life, a scrapbook of misplaced love, uncaring parents, and exploitative music industry executives.

KEY TO THE MAN: Taron Edgerton as Elton John in Rocketman, a film that gives us a glimpse of the man behind the glitter glasses.

KEY TO THE MAN: Taron Edgerton as Elton John in Rocketman, a film that gives us a glimpse of the man behind the glitter glasses.

Although I know Elton John's songs well and have seen him in concert many times, Rocketman opened up a whole new door to his life, his family, the people that mattered and the transformative nature of his stage persona that allowed him to express an exaggerated version of himself.

When Elton John was on stage, he found love. He loved his audience and his fans loved him.

Elton John is a larger than life figure.

Director Dexter Fletcher manages to show the expansive nature of Elton's stage presence but also delves into the tiniest recesses of his life to show the moments that affected him deeply.

Taron Edgerton excels as Elton.

The power of Rocketman is a film about a living rock legend yet it unfolds like a story about someone you don't know.

It's not merely a chronological retelling of key events in a rock legend's life.

Scriptwriter Lee Hall has written and structured a film that is cinematic, emotional, entertaining and filled with spectacular musical sequences that propel the storyline and provide an engaging and toe-tapping experience for the viewer.

The songs define Elton's life and his life generates the songs.

The film is a cathartic therapy session that expunges the demons that undermined Elton John's identity.

I walked out of the cinema feeling I had learned a great deal more about a performer whose music I felt I knew.

His background story is something I had only glimpsed peripherally.

That, too, is a standout quality of the film.

Rocketman is not gloom and emotional deprivation.

Rocketman is a celebration of a man who succeeded as a performer, was loved by masses of people but whose personal life was a search for someone who would give him a simple expression of affection in the form of a hug.

In music chart lingo, Rocketman is number one with a bullet.