Elvis sparkles and dazzles as it tells a vibrant story with a dark ending.
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis hits theaters this weekend and has already gotten praise from Priscilla and Lisa Marie. The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler). It is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Fans of Elvis will flock to see this movie, and they will walk out satisfied and emotional. Just like my Mom, who I took with me to screen this film. She is a big Elvis fan and was looking forward to the biopic. This film was the icing on the cake for her, especially after I took her to visit Graceland just a couple of years ago.
Elvis delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker. It spans over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).
Elvis is visually stunning and extremely immersive. Unfortunately, Baz’s strong artisitc decisions make this movie not live up to its full potential. His previous works include The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge, and Romeo + Juliet. If you have seen those movies, you know how he makes his movies. They can be trippy and odd, making him the Tim Burton of Musicals. You can tell that this film is his most ambitious project to date and holds nothing back. The storytelling is all over the place and does not chronologically go through Elvis’ life, but it does attempt to cover 20 years of Elvis with its bloated runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes.
The music accompanying this biopic complements everyone’s performance, and when Austin Butler performs Elvis’ iconic songs, you cannot imagine any other actor taking on this fantastic feat. The movie’s soundtrack is definitely going to be a must-buy. Austin Butler’s brilliant performance as Elvis saves this film from flat-lining. He brings so much charisma and charm to his stunning lead performance embodying Elvis to a tee. Couple that with an adjacent Tom Hanks, and you have movie magic in front of you.
I give Elvis 3.5 out of 5 stars. However, unless you are a die-hard fan of the King of Rock n’ Roll, you may have difficulties sitting through the bloated runtime, but if you like musicals, this is the film for you.