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  1. Published on: 11/08/2019 05:51 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A fantastical portrayal of the life of Sir Elton John.

    While there are a lot of Elton John songs that I really like, I wouldn't call myself a fan.


    For the last 50 years, John has risen to become quite an titan within the music industry and has occasionally dipped his toes into the film world. Most notably composing the songs for The Lion King and most recently having a cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


    As for this biopic, I was certainly up for seeing it. I felt Taron Edgerton was a good bit of castings. Particularly for his efforts in singing 'I'm Still Standing' in the enjoyable animated film 'Sing'. Plus, his transformation in becoming Eddie The Eagle gave me confidence that he can become Sir Elton.
    Also with Dexter Fletcher at the helm, I felt confident in the route this film would be going. After coming in to finish off the production of Bohemian Rhapsody with great success, I was intrigued to see what Fletcher does with a similar topic for the entire production.


    From the very beginning, you can see Fletcher's intentions and how he wants to portray this story and it ended up being a strong and feel-good viewing experience. Having the added mix of fantasy sequences with the biopic aspect certainly felt fitting for a personality like Elton John. It certainly enhanced pretty much every part of Elton's story and gave us many memorable scenes.
    One bit that surprised me was that despite the trailer never really suggesting this, the film was more like a musical then anything else. That certainly had me changing my approach and there were some wonderful musical set-pieces that I feel were some of the best within the genre for the last few decades.


    The acting side was pretty strong. For a film like this to work, you need your titular character to a big strength and Taron Edgerton pulls it off so well. While he may not have the voice of Elton John, there was enough in his style to have enough authenticity in there. For me, Edgerton's biggest strength was the portrayal of his character at his lowest point and during his memorable 'queeny strops' that John was known for having.
    While Edgerton may get all the plaudits, the rest of the cast gave performances that I feel could compete with the leading role. Jamie Bell did a great job as songwriter Bernie Taupin. The chemistry with Edgerton was constantly strong, well developed and completely engaging and believable.
    There was quite a transformation from Bryce Dallas Howard, which too me a while to realise that it was actually her. The accent was very convincing and was a good support. I was certainly not prepared to see her in the cast list.
    I'll give a mention to Richard Madden, who while was perfectly fine, I still feel he is a TV actor rather than a film actor. I hope he makes the transition. But for me, he hasn't quite done it yet.


    With it being a film about Elton John, the costumes need to be up to scratch. They were certainly great to look at and just maintained the high level of authenticity. It would not surprise me if the costume department got an Oscar nomination.
    Other technical aspects that I felt were very positive was the cinematography, the production design and the editing. The energy of the camera movement was great to see when required. It also let the acting set the scene and just have the camera take a step back at the right times.
    As mentioned before, the general look of it fitted the tone perfectly and the look of the time period was on point throughout.
    When it comes to the editing, it doesn't become noticeable to me. But when a film is mixing in biopic, musical and fantasy all into one, the transition between all three was only noticeable for me, but done really well and managde to merge all of those genres into one and make it a great watch.


    I don't really any negative to speak of. I think not being a hardcore Elton John fan is what is preventing from going any higher with my rating.
    So that alone should prove how really good this was. The story was well told and portrayed. For such a unique and expressive character, the tone that was chosen was ideal. The performances all round worked really well and the execution of the songs certainly made me want to discover John's entire back catalogue.
    For my expectations to be in the biopic mindset and end up being more of a musical one, the film caught me off guard, but almost instantly had me settled in for a highly enjoyable cinematic experience that I would happily re-visit when it's available to buy.
    This film really works whether you are a fan of the subject matter or not. Seeing this will certainly make people think what Bohemian Rhapsody would have been if Fletcher was director for the entire production run.


    Rating: 8/10
     

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