film reel image

film reel image

Monday, July 4, 2022

Elvis 2022 * * * 1/2 Stars


2022's Elvis is a cinematic fever dream, a film that has enough splashy fancies for a dozen or so other ones. Its director is one Baz Luhrmann, a sort of second cousin to early 90s Oliver Stone. Baz whizzes you from one set piece to the next. While you try to catch your breath, you'll realize that the dude never met a hallucinatory image he did not like. "Elvis has left the building". Indeed and left the viewer dizzy and spent. 

Elvis clocks in at 159 minutes and there's maybe one or two scenes where things slow to a creep (c'mon, you knew I was kidding). Baz's editing team gives the audience a swift grain with split screens, tons of close-ups, and fiery, cherry red hues. The fast-cutting here will make you "shake, rattle and roll". 

So is the storytelling in Elvis a little glossed over considering the pic has two-plus hours to play with? Sometimes yeah. Will you mind? I don't think so. You take away Luhrmann's punch-drunk style and Disneyland look and you probably get a vehicle that would relegate itself to the A&E network (sadly that's not the same thing). 

Elvis stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker (that's Presley's snide manager if you didn't already know). They both give revelatory performances in a flick that spans well, Presley's entire life (roughly all 42 years of it). What's unique about Elvis is that it's not just about the man and his music but about the guy who created him as well. I like that angle. Hey, it worked for 1991's The Doors because that film wasn't about the band but more about its mythical lead singer (Jim Morrison). 

With an indented sense of time and place (mostly 1950s, 60s, and 70s) and a high-powered, closing musical number (featuring the actual King of Rock 'n Roll himself), Elvis is one of the best movies of this year (so far). "Thank you, thank you very much". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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