If you are a fan of Baz Luhrmann’s movies then you’ll love Elvis as it has his signature style and frenetic energy we are used to with an incredible performance by Austin Butler. Less impressive is Tom Hanks who is almost a parody of Tom Parker and was horribly miscast but if you ignore him this is a hugely entertaining biopic.
Plot: The life of American music icon Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Review: I have to confess I’ve never been the biggest fan of Elvis Presley; he had some great songs and his legendary status is deserved but it just wasn’t my kind of music and was before my time.
While on the plane home from Scotland recently I noticed Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 movie Elvis starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks was there and I figured it would take up a few hours.
It’s received a lot of praise from critics and is one of the rare occasions where I actually agree with them. Austin Butler is a revelation, really capturing Presley’s mannerisms and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the upcoming Dune 2.
I could always take or leave Baz Luhrmann’s movies as they usually feel like extended music videos or trailers with a near frenetic and exhausting energy; Elvis is no different but it works in making what could be a tedious biopic come off as exciting and gives us insight into the life of one of the all-time great entertainers. As Elvis was around before I was even born I had no idea about all the controversy surrounding Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) so I found the movie not only entertaining but informative.
That also brings me to the weakest aspect of the film which I never thought I would say but Tom Hanks was so hilariously miscast as Tom Parker that he nearly ruins the movie with his awful accent and noticeable prosthetics. You are always aware that he is acting and never convinces as Parker in any way; I don’t know if he was deliberately playing him for laughs but that’s what it comes off as.
Aside from that Elvis is directed with Luhrmann’s usual panache and despite being 2 hours and 40 minutes in length it’s never boring and moves at an almost breakneck pace. It still slows down when it needs to and I found the scenes after Elvis’s mother dies incredibly moving and well done.
Overall, Elvis is one of the better biopics I’ve seen in recent times with Baz Luhrmann’s sense of style used to perfection in making this well paced as well as insightful. Austin Butler really captures the essence of Presley and the film is only really let down by Tom Hanks who is usually a highlight but badly miscast here.