Elvis: a movie review by Alex First

June 22, 2022 by Alex First
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Elvis lives. Well, not quite. But Baz Luhrmann has breathed new life into the legend and aura surrounding the consummate performer, the best-selling solo recording artist of all time.

Elvis the movie unfolds as a hero and villain story.

The hero is obviously Presley (Austin Butler), an artist with prodigious talent, while the villain is his manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

The tale unfolds as Parker is lying on his death bed, reflecting on what went down, rejecting suggestions that he was responsible for the demise of The King.

Baz Luhrmann is one of four with writing credits, alongside Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby) and Jeremy Doner.

Elvis isn’t what I would call a traditional biopic.

It has Luhrmann’s creative flair all over it.

Another way of expressing that is that the movie is full of showmanship in realising elements of the life of the ultimate showman. It is glossy and gaudy.

Visually, it is stunning. The cinematographer is Mandy Walker (Mulan).

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The production values are magnificent (Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy were responsible), as is Martin’s costuming.

Some events that would likely be highlighted by another director are given short shrift here.

Elvis quickly goes from courting Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) in one scene to marriage and a baby, that being but one example.

Much more attention is paid to the Colonel’s skulduggery.

The music – a mix of the real Elvis and Austin Butler – is very much on song.

So, too, the performance of Butler in the lead. He manages to capture the look and feel of Elvis.

Hanks impresses as the sleazy manipulator extraordinaire.

DeJonge maintains a quiet dignity as Priscilla.

I am not convinced we needed 2 hours 39 minutes to relate the story we saw, especially as we didn’t really dig deeply into Elvis’ psyche. Rather, we got a feel for what he was about.

Still, I greatly enjoyed the offering and Luhrmann’s trademark pizzazz.

Elvis (M) 159 minutes

Rated M, Elvis scores an 8 out of 10

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