That “Elvis” biopic really shakes, rattles and rolls!
Finally caught up with Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” … and it was definitely worth the price of admission! This is a very, very authorized take on the King – there is absolutely nothing to upset the powers-that-be within the “Graceland industry.” But although it’s a sanitized account of Presley’s life and career – and that’s the only way this movie was going to get access to all that famous music, etc. – it’s also fabulously produced, and earnestly performed, with Austin Butler giving his all in the title role.
Luhrmann takes oodles of creative license, with the action happening in his trademark flamboyant, sometimes mind-boggling fashion. Along the way the film dodges minefields: several women with whom Elvis was seriously involved, who aren’t popular with the Presley clan, don’t warrant so much as a howdy-do; the Memphis Mafia is downplayed; Elvis’s military time (when he seriously started popping pills) gets short shrift; ditto weight-related issues.
But if this isn’t a warts and all biopic, it does hit the high notes of E’s career, and also serves as an introduction for the younger crowd. And it’s certainly a showcase for Luhrmann’s hyperventilating screen style. This film will be in contention for numerous Oscar technical categories – and possibly, for Tom Hanks’s performance as Colonel Parker. Meantime, with everyone all shook up again, Elvis will continue to entice.
(You’ll find additional thoughts in a longer version of this review on my Facebook page.)