Elvis (2022) – Movie Review



Directed by Baz Luhrmann.
With Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Dacre Montgomery, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Richard Roxburgh, Helen Thomson, Yola, David Wenham, Luke Bracey, Alex Radu, Alton Mason, Xavier Samuel, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natasha Bassett, Leon Ford, Kate Mulvany, Gareth Davies, Charles Grounds, Josh McConville, Adam Dunn, Gary Clark Jr., Shonka Dukureh and Charles Andre Allen.


From his childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi to his rise to stardom from Memphis, Tennessee and his conquest of Las Vegas, Nevada, Elvis Presley became rock ‘n roll’s first star and changed the world with his music.


Elvis begins with what looks like a prank to the audience. Rather than centering its opening sequence on the king of rock ‘n roll Elvis Presley, the narration enters from an evil-sounding carnival manager (who would go on to repeatedly manage and profit financially from the legend) . He introduces himself as Colonel Tom Parker, jokingly announcing that this story is about him. Rest assured, the film is mainly about Elvis, but it should not be overlooked red Mill and Gatsby the magnificent director Baz Luhrmann to pull this baffling bait and change.

That would certainly make sense from a star power perspective given that Colonel Tom Parker is played by the beloved Tom Hanks (in makeup and a big suit while using an indescribably disorienting voice that sounds more like Colonel Sanders, who ends up becoming a quick joke in the movie) and the misunderstood Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley. It’s also worth mentioning that throughout this opening, the visuals are chaotically trippy, switching between time and locations (hospitals and casinos) in the vein of a near-death fever dream with an eye-catching voiceover from the Colonel Tom Parker painting himself to be one of those iconic, misunderstood movie villains who reboot to set the record straight.


If you think there’s a lot going on in that single sequence, multiply that by 159 minutes because there isn’t a single shot in Elvis which isn’t composed until 11 in terms of flash and style, sometimes overly directed (unmistakably in the third act, which goes on and on in a narrative circle that threatens never to end, and when it finally does , will make you think the sun might be out if you attended an evening screening).

The benefit of this is a parade of Elvis covers Austin Butler, who has a breakout performance, notably when Baz Luhrmann focuses on the stage. Simply put, Austin Butler physically throws himself into the role of Elvis Presley with whiplash force, gyratory and pelvic thrusts and writhing all over the floor, belting out usually sweat-soaked iconic songs with every woman in the world. audience swooned over his talent and magnetic, sexually suggestive presence, some throwing their underwear on stage. Whether it’s watching a young Elvis grow up in a black neighborhood and becoming overwhelmed by the power of gospel or infusing those styles into his work as a famous musician, the film certainly understands his cultural inspirations and how to turn them into a series of energetic musical numbers. .


Unfortunately, that style leaves little room for substance, though there’s always something to enjoy in a biopic ready to go bonkers from the foreground. The problem is that Elvis runs out of gas about 100 minutes later, returning to a situation that makes Elvis Presley incredibly gullible while softening the impact of his failed marriage and his battles with drug addiction. These last pieces represent maybe 20 minutes of Elvis, so when Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner’s screenplay attempts to be emotionally moving, it falls on deaf ears. The above is particularly glaring during critical historical moments such as the death of Martin Luther King Jr., which affects Elvis Presley for 30 seconds before the film returns in another big gig.

There are sections of Elvis that work, mostly after a muddled first act narrative that quickly settles into a beat dealing with Elvis Presley under threat of being canceled for his non-PG stage moves (at least according to government prudes who also fight for the segregation). This behavior also puts Colonel Tom Parker in the same crosshairs, forced to take control of his talent or deal with some other kind of anger (a deceptive backstory is inevitably revealed). With that in mind, the only scenes that elicit any real involvement are when Elvis Presley might defy those rules and anyone trying to stop them from interacting with black friends (Kelvin Harrison Jr. is sharp for a few short scenes portraying BB King ) or do what he wants. Then there are some introductory scenes with Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge) that start out slow but almost never turn into a love story worth playing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” on tape multiple times. original.


This also leads to another significant gripe; even Baz Luhrmann’s endless vortex of stylistic madness does not disguise the fact that Elvis lasts much longer than necessary while taking forever to wrap up (something in stark contrast to the first act, which begins to race through Elvis Presley’s life like a Ferrari), the excitement of musical performances and even listening of these songs are welcome. There’s a brief period where it felt like Baz Luhrmann had smoothed things over and found key areas of the story to focus on, but the third act bludgeons one into submission with shallow extravagance and repetitiveness.

But Austin Butler is going to be a star.

Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter Where Letter boxor email me at [email protected]



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