The life story of Elvis Presley as seen through the complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
After about ten minutes, I was both exhausted and terrified. Was what I had just seen - colourful but frenetic and haphazard going to continue? Well, it does calm down - and continues to quite cleverly interweave the early years and aspirations of this young boy with the openly racist political situation that prevailed in the Southern United States in the early 1940s. From here on in, I am treating this as a provocative and entertaining but entirely speculative drama about this man. Historians always argue about what did happen - or what might have, and I haven't any factual insight to add. On that basis, this is a quickly paced and creatively structured depiction of the main points of the life of Elvis. Austin Butler has an uncanny resemblance. As was often said of Dustin Hoffman, it's a fine line between mimicry and acting, but here I think Butler is more in the latter corner. He puts enormous effort into this portrayal. Physically and emotionally he gives convincingly of his all, leaving us in no doubt as to the talents and raw charisma that drove Presley to sell more records than anyone else. History tells us that he was discovered, and that until his death he had a pretty turbulent relationship with his promoter - Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Hanks is fine, no better. His make up did distract me, especially as he aged, and his accent isn't the best; but he features surprisingly sparingly even if he is essentially relaying the narrative to us. Virtually all of this focusses on the excellent Butler as he demonstrates the highs and low of this man who ended up craving love and adulation as readily as anyone can crave drugs or booze (though he used his fair share of them too). I could have done with more flesh on the bones of his relationship with his mother and his wife, but the depictions of the parasitic hangers-on who continually bleed him dry leave us with a potent image of a not unintelligent man who brought pleasure to millions with his gyrating, his songs and his personality, but maybe didn't keep that much back for himself. It's planet Baz, so of course it is flamboyant and busy, the musical numbers are fluid and full of energy. Once it settles down it is a vibrant and lively effort that really does fly by and that I really did enjoy.
MORE SPOILER-FREE REVIEWS @ https://www.msbreviews.com/ "Elvis features a glorious, electrifying, iconic performance from Austin Butler that will deservedly guarantee him all the awards of the year. Unfortunately, the actor isn't enough to overcome the many technical issues, besides Tom Hanks' massive miscast and the formulaic musical biopic narrative. Baz Luhrmann's style theoretically fits the legendary singer's vibrant aura, and the filmmaker's intention is clear. Nevertheless, the frenetic, choppy editing and the restless camera movements rather come off as a messy, confusing, headache-inducing atmosphere instead of elements that elevate the overall piece. The unnecessarily hefty doesn't help. I was hoping to be surprised, but then again, I'm admittedly not the biggest Elvis/Luhrmann fan." Rating: C+