Elviswritten and directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, The big Gatsby) includes a familiar flashy montage, sometimes pushing the story through brilliance as opposed to substance. Luhrmann takes on a lot of story and sometimes the film overtakes it, but it remains intriguing and enjoyable at 2 hours and 39 minutes.
The first and repeated narrative we find is that of Colonel Tom Parker, played by an almost unrecognizable Tom Hanks. In the opening scene, we find him as a sick old man, complaining that history has blamed him for mismanaging Elvis’ troubled career. He wants us to know “his side of him” in him.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, and his family suffered from extreme poverty, but they were rich in spirit, devout congregants of the Rev. WH Brewster in Memphis.
As a young man, Elvis divided his time between church and nearby Beale Street, where he experienced a different understanding of the spiritual freedom of music, rhythm, and the blues, and the power to express with his body what could not be said at home or at home. at church.
The screenplay unfolds the conflict between these dissonant influences with compelling and compelling success. Young Elvis was hungry to lift his family out of the bondage of poverty and music allowed him the creative license to remove his inhibitions in the process.
Luhrmann makes several attempts to credit the black Beale Street musicians Elvis emulated to stardom: BB King (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (Gary Clark, Jr.), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Yola), Little Richard (Alton Mason), Big Mama Thornton (Shonka Dukureh). They welcomed Elvis and helped mold the eager student into his image.
Beale Street infused young Elvis with soul, which was critical to his success. The film shows that Elvis returned there several times to ask his Beale Street family for advice when things got tough.
Elvis, the star-obsessed, ambitious and star-struck musician, dominated the first half of the film. As expected of Luhrmann, the production is huge, full of flash and color, maximizing our senses with each performance.
Luhrmann often pulls us out of intimate scenes with micro-flashes back and forth, as if to say that the sum of Elvis Presley’s life greatly extends the limitation of any given scene. Flashbacks remind viewers that the film is about the rise and death of an iconic musician. If you’re hoping to get in the moment with Elvis the man, you might want to.
Austin Butler’s hanging bangs and good looks help create a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley.
Hanks and Butler share a strange on-screen intimacy that was both complicated and tragic.
During a pre-launch interview with People, Butler revealed that early in pre-production, Hanks sent him a typewriter from his personal collection. On the chrome typewriter was a letter from Hanks as Parker to Elvis. Butler responded in kind and together they had multiple in-character matches, thus crystallizing their relationship, the backbone of this angled story.
Butler’s voice and Elvis’ interpretation of stage presence were perfect, especially since Butler has never performed in public before.
And any review should discuss the actor’s crotch and butt, which Luhrmann apparently found cinematically irresistible.
There were 100 too many crotch shots, topped only by frames of screaming, hormone-crazed women of all ages and their escorts abandoned in the dust. In a nutshell, Elvis was not popular with male social porters.
At some point in 1956, young Elvis was summoned before a judge in Jacksonville, Florida, who threatened to arrest him for “undermining the morality of minors.” Here, the film takes artistic license and portrays Elvis as stubborn and resistant, sassy as ever, and increasingly in trouble. In reality, Elvis took center stage, disgruntled, and performed those six Jacksonville shows without his signature moves.
Enter Parker, plotting again how to maximize his financial exploitation in Elvis’ career.
We are never happy to see you. It was clear that the risk of censorship would translate into a serious loss of income for Parker. , clean, less sexually provocative version of yourself.
Despite having several offers from the army to be a recruiting model or to entertain the troops, Presley chose to serve as a regular soldier. He saw active service with an armored division near Frankfurt, Germany.
While he was away, his mother died of a heart attack. Their relationship was the emotional anchor of Elvis’ formative years. She was his north star. Between active service and the loss of his mother, Elvis returned a lost man.
The second half of the film is a slightly more intimate exploration of Elvis, and his growing awareness and apparent powerlessness to combat Parker’s exploitation. As vibrant with sparkle and shine as the first half was, the second half follows Elvis through the ark of history to darker places, preserving the obvious truth of Elvis’ remarkable talent and place in history as an artist.
His performances were still heart-stopping, but Elvis’ ability to control his career was slowly being squeezed by Parker’s manipulation of when, where and how often Elvis performed.
Motivated by greed, Parker packed Elvis whenever he could. It was nearly impossible for Elvis to keep up, especially considering the stamina it took to achieve the charisma his audience expected. Elvis was routinely supported by amphetamines prescribed by his traveling “team doctor”. We are shown at the beginning of the movie that Elvis was genetically loaded into addiction. In 1973, his marriage to Pricilla Presley ended, although they continued to be parents to their daughter, Lisa-Marie.
During the end of his career, Elvis knew that Parker was a fraud and tried to find new management, but Parker’s paternal influence on Elvis remained strong.
There, we enjoyed the onscreen intimacy between Hanks and Butler as we came to understand the emotional control Parker had over Elvis. In the end, Elvis realized that Parker was never the father figure he was meant to be. We saw Parker’s despicable exploitation of Elvis early on, but not Elvis.
The final scenes of the film are surprising and spectacular. Congratulations on Luhrmann’s apparent self-awareness about his limitations. Elvis it is a historical and pertinent film, worth the money and worth the heartbreak.