Painfully reporting that Elvis is a supporting cast in a biopic about his life and music. And we don’t get to enjoy it either.
Let me make one thing clear. The standard rock biopic formula gets all shook up in Elvis, with Baz Luhrmann on the helm. However, the dazzling energy and style under deliver, and in some case, sound malicious enough to make Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ director played by Tom Hanks, look like a good guy.
If anything, the movie is told from the point of view of Parker. Not the king of Rock. Sadly, the result is an incoherent mess where you barely look at Elvis’ private and family life, and you don’t get to really enjoy any of his music, aside from a total of 10minutes spread into two parts across the movie.
However, Austin Butler’s outstanding lead performance is what’s holding this movie together. Even when we discover the betrayal of Tom Parker, Luhrmann makes it look like it’s an okay thing to do. On the other hand, Butler embodies everything we know about the music legend. Looks, mannerism, and those damn vocal cords.
Yes, the movie sadly doesn’t deserve any awards recognition. But Austin Butler breaks that result. He’s the single blindingly shiny highlight of this whole mess.
Should you watch it?
Austin Butler seems possessed by the king’s spirit, flooding the screen with irresistible charm and primal physicality. Elvis is hyperbolic, one-dimensional, and ludicrous – but as high-excess cinematic mythmaking, it’s a blast.