Richard Madden

REVIEW: Rocketman (2019)

A musical biopic about Elton John’s (portrayed here by Taron Egerton) life as he makes a name for himself in the world of music.

Rocketman is a fantastical, over the top musical and it totally works as a way to tell the story of Elton John’s life. Given the time span of the film, there’s certain events that are no doubt abbreviated or missed out completely, but you do get to experience the rise and fall, and rise again of Elton John’s career, relationships and life. Rocketman hits all the usual biopic clichés but it’s easy to forgive it for that as it hits them with the full force John’s discography and a magical take on this man’s life.

Taron Egerton is brilliant as Elton John. He captures the many facets of John’s personality wonderfully, the anger, the love, the despair and the joy, it’s all there to see. Egerton’s minute facial expressions show the conflicting emotions as his relationships become strained as he goes into a downward spiral of drink, drugs and sex. His singing is great too, with echoes of John’s distinctive voice while never imitating it.

Jamie Bell and Richard Madden also deserve recognition for their work here. Bell plays John’s long-time song writing partner Bernie Taupin and he is full of charisma as he and Egerton have such chemistry that even though their relationship is purely platonic (and seeing two men openly say they love one another in a mainstream film is great) you can feel the love and respect they have for one another. Madden portrays John Reid, Elton John’s manager and boyfriend, and he’s perfectly charming yet calculating.

Rocketman is joyful and fun though it never shies away from the darker side of Elton John’s life. The dialogue can be cheesy but with the full-on musical numbers, outrageous costumes and brilliant performances make Rocketman a fantastically weird yet wonderful experience. Rocketman manages to juggle and unite all its contradictions, it’s silly yet serious, earnest yet outrageous but overall it is really quite wonderful. 5/5.

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REVIEW: Bastille Day (2016)

bastille day film posterIn Paris, pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden) becomes involved with a terrorist plot when he steals a bag, unaware that it contains a bomb. Tough CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba) must find Mason and figure out the truth before the bad guys and the French authorities close in.

Bastille Day is quite a bit of fun. It’s fast-paced and having characters like Mason and Briar who are complete opposites forced to work together gives you some great odd-couple moments. The way their scenes are shot makes the most out of their height difference and body differences which adds to the awkwardness to their interactions.

Bastille Day is a fast-paced, action-packed film. It’s not got the most solid or original plot but you get pulled along for the ride so you don’t really notice. The action sequences in Bastille Day are definitely a highlight of the film. There’s a rooftop chase early on into the film that’s exciting and a close-confined and brutal fight in the back of a van you can actually follow what is happening. When the action pauses to pull the plot along, that’s where it struggles a bit.

One thing I did appreciate about Bastille Day (and any film that does this), is that whenever there are characters whose first language isn’t English, and since the films set in Paris there’s a lot of French characters, they actually speak in their own language when not surrounded by English-speaking characters and the audience has subtitles to read. It makes sense that one French person, talking to another French person would speak in French, not in English with a dodgy French accent.

It’s kind of a cheesy movie but Elba’s presence and charisma is what helps hold the whole thing together and makes it enjoyable. 4/5.