AFTER Sunshine on Leith and Bohemian Rhapsody, this musical biopic of Elton John makes it a hugely entertaining three for three for director Dexter Fletcher.

It is not just the music and performances that are worth a celebratory jig in the aisle. What also refreshes in this look at the wilder days of Elton John is the way it unapologetically settles scores. As we see in Rocketman, Elton was born in Pinner, Middlesex, but on the evidence of these two hours there is surely some Sicilian blood in there as well.

Fletcher opens with Elton, played by Taron Egerton, striding down a corridor, dressed like a camp Beelzebub. His destination is an AA meeting. Back and forth from this room we will go as Elton tells his story of sex and drugs and rock and roll. Unlike the 12A Bohemian Rhapsody, there is no whitewash here or a blush spared, much to the filmmakers’ credit.

The screenplay by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Spoonface Steinberg) presents Elton the boy, or Reggie Dwight as he was then, as the product of an unhappy marriage between a cold father and a mother who could be just as cruel with her tongue. Only Reggie’s beloved nan emerges with much credit.

The relationship with his gran was one of a handful that shaped Elton’s life and which in turn feature prominently in the film. Lyricist Bernie Taupin, played by Jamie Bell, quickly becomes like a brother to him. Another man was to play an even bigger role: his Scots manager and lover, John Reid, played by Richard Madden.

The only flattering thing about the portrait of Reid is the choice of actor. Madden, rocking the clothes and hairstyles of the period, prowls around like a sexy beast.

He also seems determined to prove what Elton’s mum told her son bitterly when he came out– that he would never find anyone to love him “properly”.

All the greatest hits are here, some of them given the full song and dance treatment, others performed in a more straightforward way in the studio or in performance. Nothing is done with anything less than 100% energy from Egerton who can sing, dance and act the way Taupin could write songs and Elton play them. Stick around for the titles to see how well art imitates life.

There is the odd duff line and the occasional pulling of punches. The legendary tantrums, for instance, come across as mild cases of grumpiness. One is never in any doubt that Elton and his husband David Furnish are producers. That said, this is a heartfelt look at a performer touched by genius and wracked by insecurities who had to travel a long way down the yellow brick road before finding happiness.