A biopic of a showman by a showman as director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby) hits the ground running with a full-throttle energy that is Elvis. Yet, with its narrative framed within the context of Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks – Castaway, Big), there’s an element of restraint from a director known for excess splash.
From heartthrob teenager threatening, with his stage gyrations, the fabric of 1950s white American respectability to an overweight, drug-addled 42 year-old and an early death, Presley was a true star. But Presley’s manager was a gambling addict and fraudster, sucking the singer dry from a multi-million dollar career.
As the young Elvis, an energetic Austin Butler (Dune, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) excels (he struggles a little in the later years) in the high melodrama beloved by Luhrmann. But Elvis avoids the pitfalls of detail. Instead, as we move quickly through the decades, high-octane snapshots sit alongside insightful moments of quiet as the complex relationships with Parker and his father (Richard Roxburgh – Moulin Rouge, Breath) unfold. With the marriage to Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge – The Visit, Better Watch Out) crumbling, Elvis looks more to the record-breaking five seasons in Vegas and an increasingly desperate Parker needing to hold on to his meal ticket.
Nominated for 8 Oscars in 2023 including best film, actor, cinematography production design