The image and voice of Elvis Presley are so unique and so imitated that it is daring to think about playing him. And that was Austin Butler‘s challenge in Baz Lurhman‘s new film, the biopic about the king of rock. Released in Cannes, almost two years later than expected (production was delayed because of the pandemic), Elvis was well accepted, and no reservations were made for Austin’s unanimously praised performance. Approved by Elvis’ widow, Priscila Presley, and critics, the actor is one of the highlights of the film.
“His stage moves are sensual and hypnotic, his melancholy lost mama’s boy quality is swoon-worthy, and he captures the tragic paradox of a phenomenal success story that clings tenaciously to the American dream even as it continues to crumble in his hands.”, says The Hollywood Reporter about the actor.
Elvis marks the return of Baz Lurhman to cinemas (The Great Gatsby is from 2013), but some fans found the script as one of the weak points of the production, especially for putting as a conductor precisely the controversial figure of the singer’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Already in the trailers, Tom seems forced and cartoonish, with a different accent (then the true origin of the colonel is revealed, explaining why). The problem is precisely because the source of many of the dramas that later accelerated the star’s premature death was this abusive relationship with the businessman, now considered morally questionable, who would have financially and psychologically abused Elvis Presley, leading him to exhaustion.
To better understand this relationship, there is the sensational documentary Elvis, available on HBO Max. On-screen, having a good guy like Tom Hanks voicing him mitigates a lot of flaws as a person and friend of the singer, like keeping Elvis at an insane pace of Las Vegas shows to pay off his gambling debts.
The film recounts, in the rhythm and signature of Baz Lurhman, Elvis’ rise to stardom. And of course, the soundtrack is inspired and renews the sound and interest in Elvis Presley‘s hits. At the end of the day, it’s a work of love from a passionate fan. And no one leaves without getting emotional.