There’s a gleeful toxicity here that will launch a thousand think-pieces – Pitt’s character is capital-P problematic, absolutely by design – but the transgressive thrill is undeniable, and the artistry mesmerisingly assured.
Not only does Egerton have Elton’s look and mannerisms down to an uncanny degree, he also musters up enough of his subject’s signature showmanship to give a performance that’s joyously at peace with its own preposterousness.
This is a winningly eccentric film, as attuned in its own way to the rhythms of ordinary life as Jarmusch and Driver’s (even better) 2016 feature Paterson. But there is a pessimism gnawing away in its gut that can’t be laughed off.
The switch from male to female leads has been done with so little apparent regard for how it might actually affect the plot that entire tracts of the film, including its finale, now land like poorly tossed pancakes.
The film has lots of fun with its premise – until America beckons, then suddenly it seems to lose its head of steam. ... Yet it rallies in style for a beautifully judged and surprisingly moving finale.
Well-informed, enlightening writing on Tolkien’s life and creative process is hardly scarce. But his genius stems from his scholarship, which doesn’t obviously lend itself to cinema, even with Derek Jacobi on hand as a professor-cum-mentor fruitily declaiming in Gothic as he potters around the quad.
An alternative title for this one might have been Avengers: Encore, since the film knows its entire audience has been here for the long run – even beside Infinity War, Endgame would be completely impenetrable to a novice. Think of it as a kind of victory lap, in which a decade-plus of painstaking team assembly is re-run at top speed, then paid off with thermonuclear dazzle and force.
While the del Toro Hellboys were postmodern Frankenstein fables, shining with pathos, fun and fairy-tale allure, this unsolicited reboot is ugly, obnoxious and yowlingly witless, with nothing to say for itself that doesn’t start with the letter F.
That tension niggles away within The Highwaymen, a sporadically stodgy, dour production which often seems painfully aware that the really fun stuff is happening out of shot. But then Costner and Harrelson get to talking, the light lands on their features just so, and the film casts its own curmudgeonly spell.
The problem with this latest entry in Disney’s ever-expanding range of recycled classics isn’t that it hews too close to the studio’s original animated masterpiece, but that its many departures only muddle the original’s nursery-rhyme simplicity and neuter its famous sustained emotional wallop.