THE mile-a-minute, never let up pace of the film (along with the myriad OTT Baz Luhrmann stylistic choices) may not be for everyone, but Austin Butler delivers an utterly convincing, enthralling take on the King that screams “a cinematic experience that can’t be missed”.
The film charts Colonel Tom Parker’s (Tom Hanks) shepherding of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) through his life and career; from making him a star, to his eventual run on the Vegas Strip. It also focuses on the toxic relationship between the two characters, which ultimately led to Elvis’ demise.
Elvis, much like some of Baz Luhrmann’s other recent work, is incredibly stylised, with the first one and a half hours of the film feeling like a never-ending trailer. It’s a chaotic, messy, at times sloppy, introduction to the film.
It’s also absolutely enthralling.
The absurdity of the edit also has the fantastic benefit of making this seem like no other biopic you’ve ever seen. It’s story first, performance second, and despite the fact that we get the full gamut of classic Elvis tunes, it never feels like the film is slowing down to accommodate them.
Austin Butler is utterly convincing as the King. It’s tough to overemphasize how incredibly good his performance is. It’s a star-making turn for the young actor, and his work holds the movie together through its stumbles.
Elvis is not going to be a film for everybody. But it’s sort of like being driven around a racetrack by a rally car driver; while you’re in it, you can’t do anything but grit your teeth and hold on for dear life. Once you’re out of it, it’s an experience that will stay with you forever.
– Jacob Richardson Creative Director | Film Focus