Director Baz Luhrmann did something truly impressive: make six films, each worse than the last. After the “Great Gatsby” fiasco, he was teetering on the brink of notoriety, and now Luhrmann has done something truly shocking with “Elvis.” Austin Butler won Mr. Presley’s job as a decent Elvis impersonator, but you can wander around the Strip on any given night looking for the best bow-tie casual lizard.
The film is over two and a half hours long, and viewers will spend most of it trying to understand what happened to Tom Hanks’ accent as Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It’s a greasy concoction of southern Dutch and West Virginia influences, and it sounds weird every time the colonel’s mouth opens, which is usually — the whole story is told in his dying voiceover. As you watch this fat man’s review, appreciate the work done by the jaw-dropping makeup artist in the movie who pushes himself to the absolute limit with the Colonel’s wide jaw.
He becomes the millionaire manager of the superstar, but Parker is essentially a salesman halfway through the carnival. He sells “I Love Elvis” buttons and “I hate Elvis” buttons. He had Elvis make a video for “The Hound,” crooning with a real Basset Hound. When Elvis sang “Suspicious Minds” on stage, he struck a covert business deal with the gang. The film repeats over and over that the Colonel is the master of “snow work” and is able to trick Rubes onto the big top…but people don’t have to be snowed by Elvis – they just need to see him move his hips and they lose reason.
We didn’t hear a full Elvis track throughout the run. We know nothing about the creative process of The King of Rock and Roll, other than the fact that he seems to enjoy stealing music made by black people. Butler’s fashion choices and self-seriousness have elements of John Leguizamo’s Tybalt in Romeo + Juliet, but we don’t know why, even before he had the money, Elvis chose to wear it dress, sing and sigh.
Elvis hardly benefits from the pale depictions of the most important people in his life: his mother (Helen Thomson), father (Richard Roxburgh) and wife Priscilla (Olivia de Junge). ). The most serious mistake was that he had no relationship with Priscilla. When she finally leaves him, she asks, “Do you remember the last time we laughed together?” That definitely doesn’t happen in this movie.
The “Elvis” composition seems deliberately incoherent, like Luhrmann putting a kid in the editing area and asking him to mash every button. But the film also has unintentional ineptitude, when we see the giant “E” and “L” being placed on the marquee of the International Hotel twice in a row. Other failed pop attempts include comic book panels, animated newsreels, and busy montages that sped up Elvis’ boring mid-life career.
Luhrmann did everything artificially—Graceland was CGI, pink Cadillac was CGI, and even shooting a private jet on the tarmac required a lot of special effects work. Butler looks crazy as a whole, painted like a dime whore, but he’s far less ridiculous than Hanks with a Santa pillow tucked under his shirt. Filmed in Australia, the film feels completely unreal – it doesn’t look or feel like Memphis or Las Vegas, and it might as well be shot in a makeup artist’s trailer.
Luhrmann keeps faking documentary footage because of course we’d rather see the real Elvis, a flamboyant and provocative performer whose talent is so much more than this scum that you can only be ashamed of the movie coming out .
“Elvis” is utter rubbish, but despite “House of Gucci,” many people will still feel compelled to stay in some train-wrecked movie theater. In the end, you’re left with one question: Did Luhrmann have a mental breakdown or did I have a mental breakdown? While we’ve never seen Elvis eat a peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich, Butler dons Hanks’ chubby suit in the final paragraph. If nothing else, the film feels like you might be on the verge of suffering severe coronary disease and dying on the bathroom floor.