A brand new Biographic film about the King of Rock and Roll which was directed by Baz Luhrmann, ‘Elvis’ tells the story of Elvis Presley (played by Austin Butler), from his childhood, to when he was discovered, his days in the American Army, and his rise to fame, all through the eyes of his controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).
I went to see a private showing of this film on 28th June, and in this blog, I will lay out my opinions on the film, though I have to admit, this is coming from someone who only had a small idea about who Elvis was before seeing the film, not knowing much more than a couple of his songs, that he was born on the 8th of January (which also happens to be my birthday), the fact that his daughter married Michael Jackson, and that his songs were largely featured in Lilo and Stitch — super fans, please don’t hate me for this.
The film starts on the day when Colonel Tom Parker collapses in his home, and is later rushed to hospital. As he lies dying, news outlets start remembering him as a liar, a cheat and a conman, before he starts narrating the story about how he discovered the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.
Jumping next through scenes including one in Las Vegas where Elvis is unable to stand; then to another flashback in the 1950s — where Parker is working at a carnival — followed by another few flashbacks, that show Elvis being discovered at a musical performance, negotiating a music deal with Parker, a bit about his home life, his rise to stardom and more, I found the structure of the opening scenes a wee bit confusing. Feel free to disagree with me if you want, but I thought the opening was something that would only make sense to people who grew up listening to Elvis, or other than that, superfans. The way the opening jumped from the 1990s and backwards would have been enough, but the way it was done I found way too confusing, and it only started to make sense when Elvis started serving in the American Army and met Priscilla.
What I would have preferred for Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell and Craig Pearce to do would have been to pack only a couple of key points into the beginning of Elvis’s story — as well as Tom Parker’s — but not as much as ended up in the final screenplay.
The rest of the film, however, I found to be quite educational, even if not every detail was entirely factual. I thought the dynamics between the main characters were incredibly interesting, especially the relationship between Elvis, Priscilla, and Tom Parker. I learned more about the events leading up to Elvis’s death than I knew already, as well as a couple of the theories people came up with in relation to how he died. Plus as well, I thought each part was extremely well acted, and the directing, for the most part, was brill.