Visionary director, Baz Luhrmann, brings the king of rock & roll to the big screen like never before in the glitzy musical biopic, Elvis.
As we have seen several rock legends hit the big screen in the last few years, viewers can sort of expect the same formula however, Luhrmann’s signature style transforms the standard musical biopic into a three ring circus full embracing the tragic rollercoaster that was Elvis’s life.
With dizzying cinematography flashing neon colors and lightening cuts set the King’s legendary music and a fanfare of screaming girl, it’s hard not to get wrapped up the opulence of the film, even if it is exhausting at times.
However, experiencing all this razzle dazzle during a nearly three hour runtime is sensory overload. And in all honestly, I felt like Elvis at the end of the film as the credits began to run — sweaty, bloated, and just ready for it to be over. However, it’s Austin Butler’s transformative performance as Elvis that makes the film so compelling.
Butler is spot on, with lightening light magic and charisma managing to no only embrace the physicality and vocals of Elvis, but also his sensitivity juxtaposed with the spectacle. Plus he will get you all shook up, if you know what I mean.
Butler put some serious blood, sweat (emphasis on sweat), and tears into this role and it certainly paid off. Not only because his performance is receiving some early awards chatter, but because Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley have raved over his performance. And that’s a huge win in my book.
Butler’s counterpart is award-winning actor and America’s favorite uncle, Tom Hanks, in one of his most perplexing roles to date as his manipulative manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
The performance reminded me a lot of Jared Leto’s in House of Gucci, but waaaaaay more unlikable, which makes sense since the Colonel was a garbage human. I’m trying to still unpack whether or not Hanks was just embracing camp or just made a lot of…choices, but nothing set right with me on this performance.
But if you do make one choice, it is to see Elvis for Butler’s performance — and to make sure to use the bathroom ahead of time. You’ll thank me.
Final Thoughts: Dizzy, dazzling, extravagant. Butler steals the show and will surely make Elvis fans proud.