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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Elvis (2022)

Never let it be said that Baz Luhrmann doesn't know how to show off. I said Moulin Rouge ended up being an experience with a terminal illness more than a movie and much the same is true here. The causes are different, but the ultimate result is the same.

To call it a biopic is massaging the project somewhat, with lashings of embellished glitterati for the purposes of entertainment, for lest we forget that above all else, this is what this is. Something I imagine Elvis would have understood completely. Give Luhrmann a different superstar with a different backstory and it's likely that the film he makes would not be markedly different.

Featuring a main character that I only ever had a passing interest in may go some way to explaining my ambivalence to the whole thing. You cannot deny the outstanding performance from Austin Butler, after what I can imagine must have been exhausting casting and the relentless soundtrack, but Tom Hanks seemed the least believable in his role as Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker and the hints at issues of the time, made only in passing and then discarded, which only goes to amplify the lack of interest in their telling and the expectations of Luhrmann's imagined demographic.

This is undeniably a triple-A experience all over, of course, and worth the time to revel in just once, even if my grey matter wished it had been half an hour shorter. Luhrmann will continue to make great movies, but they will inevitably remain of a type designed for those that indulge in gloss over substance.


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