Elvis Review: A Spectacular and Stylish Biopic!

Movies are no stranger to depicting the lives of musicians. Over the years there have been an array of biopics that cover the careers of musical artists- such as Ray or more recently Bohemian Rhapsody. Yet one name has remained a stranger to this genre and it is one that even if you are not a fan of his work you likely know who he is. This musician is none other than the king of Rock’n Roll Elvis Presley. Presley’s music shaped a generation and his contributions not only spanned to music but pop culture as well. So a movie about Presley’s life does not come as a surprise, though it is surprising to see it take so long, but at long last a movie about the King has finally arrived to theaters in the musical drama Elvis.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie depicts the life of Elvis (Austin Butler) and his relationship with his shady manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). This film has been considered for quite some time with Luhrmann being attached to the project as early as 2014. The film was finally made official in 2019 after Tom Hanks was attached to the biopic, and soon after Austin Butler was cast in the title role beating out names like Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort. The movie made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a major reception from the audience, and has continued to garner positive reviews ever since. While I find Luhrmann’s work to be hit or miss, I cannot deny that this biopic intrigued me and the buzz surrounding it was enough incentive for me to check out this drama for myself. While biopics on musicians can be a dime in a dozen, Elvis proved to be an ambitious one that definitely stands out from the rest.

As stated, biopics are a dime in a dozen so they have a tendency to follow the similar beats in their storytelling. Elvis was no exception to this but its execution made all the difference in the world. Perhaps the most intriguing aspects to this plot was its dual narrative as it was much Col. Parker's story as it was Elvis's. Furthermore, watching Elvis going through various time periods was fairly seamless; though certain parts of his life such as his relationship with Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) went astray and had a minimal impact on the overall story. Still the point of this plot was capturing the life of Elvis Presley and despite some sporadic elements this story accomplished that by being nothing short of compelling and a drama worthy of the silver screen.

Equally as important to a biopic is how it handles its historical subjects, and in the case of Elvis this portrayal was handled quite nicely. While some of his development required more focus, this take on Elvis was still impressive and this was thanks to the wonderful performance of Austin Butler. Along with Bulter’s impressive take on Elvis, though not as surprising, was the surreal performance from Tom Hanks. Hanks ' take on the crooked manager was a different role for the actor, but Hanks was in rare form as he brought a sense of enthusiasm to Col. Parker that made him quite charismatic. As for supporting players, the cast had its share of solid cast members like Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson and Richard Roxburgh. However most of these characters lacked the presence of the two leads, but they still did their jobs well. This was a film that was reliant on its leads, but thankfully both were more than up to the challenge to bring these two cultural figures to life.

While Luhrmann has his shortcomings, one area he strives in is his sense of art, and Elvis more than lived up to the director 's visual standards. From its keen cinematography to its dynamic execution, this movie featured a presentation that helped this biopic stand out from the rest. While the film having fantastic visuals was great, equally as important was its use of music and the movie definitely thrived in this area. The use of Elvis' songs was stylish as they were not utilized in the film’s score but led to stunning sequences that gave this biopic a cinematic flare worthy of the big screen.

Elvis is a one of a kind biopic. While some of its directions could be off putting, this drama was more than effective thanks to its stylish storytelling and fantastic performances. Furthermore this movie’s unique presentation was vital in making this movie standout in its respective genre. Whether or not this film depicts the musician’s life to the best of its abilities is up for debate, but in the case of this Film Adventurer Elvis is a dynamic experience that is among Luhrmann’s best work and arguably sets a new standard for biopics and their role on the big screen.

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