This film captures the complicated relationship between 1950’s superstar Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The movie also focuses on Elvis’ wife, Priscilla, as their relationship keeps him grounded.
This biopic has Baz Luhrmann’s name written all over it. The story bounces between pinnacle moments in Elvis’ life, bringing along the audience for the ride. While this zigzaggy style would typically leave the viewers a bit sea sick, it worked extremely well. Elvis had a chaotic life and was essentially launched into stardom which laid the tracks for the rest of his extremely publicized career. Similarly, the audience is thrown into the story as the events elevate and more is put at stake.
The cinematography is beautifully executed especially as, towards the end of the film, the footage switches from Butler to archival footage of Elvis’ last performance before his tragic death. The vocals throughout are also something noteworthy. Butler perfectly replicates the iconic sound of young Elvis and as he ages, the sound mixes with real recordings of Elvis.
Being totally honest, a lot of the hype surrounding Luhrmann’s newest film venture was Butler centered. Audiences fawned over him in an idolizing way, similar to how Elvis was seen in his prime. Butler’s performance was absolutely captivating. He embodied Elvis in a way you would never expect. The same can be said for Hanks and Olivia DeJonge, who portrays Priscilla Presley. The two supporting characters brought emotionality and offered an otherwise unseen character arc to the King of Rock N’ Roll. In this epic game of Tug of War, Col. Parker seems to be yanking Elvis towards madness while Priscilla counters that with a level head and calm energy.
All in all, this movie is a must-see of the year. From the iconic music to the eye-catching costumes and the Oscar-worthy acting performances, it really is just a fun watch. It adheres pretty closely to historical fact while also maintining the audience’s full attention.
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