Film review: Elvis starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks

As a huge fan of Elvis Presley, I could have never imagined anyone interpreting my idol. But yet in new biopic Elvis, energetic young actor, Austin Butler, seemed almost possessed by the spirit of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and made me feel emotional as if Elvis would still be alive. Read my review here to find out why I believe Elvis is the best movie of the past decade. It will be released nationwide on 24th June 2022 by Warner Bros. Pictures. 

My guitar bag by Vendula London at the Elvis screening seemed appropriate as well as my Elvis shirt which I bought in Lido Adriano in Italy at the annual Elvis festival

The story 
A thoroughly cinematic drama, Elvis’s (Butler) story is seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
 
 
As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).
 
The trailer 
 

The verdict 
 
To quote Elvis, if you’re looking for … not trouble but a great way to spend three hours of your life, you’ve come to the right place! 
 
Elvis is an epic, big-screen spectacle from Warner Bros. Pictures and visionary, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann that explores the life and music of Elvis Presley. Beautifully shot, Elvis is a sensory experience for the eyes and the ears. Watching it at IMAX Cineworld in Leicester Square made it the ultimate cinematic experience as I almost felt inside the film. 
 
 
The drama is not all about the story of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll as we know it, but it follows Elvis Presley and his ascension to super stardom, helped by contentious manager Colonel Tom Parker as he goes from a young boy in Memphis to an international star, through the lens of his manager, who robbed Elvis of lots of money to protect his fraudulent activities. Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, the Dutch musical entrepreneur who managed Elvis from 1955 until the singer’s death in 1977, is very good especially considering he was forced to wear a fat suit for the whole duration of the filming. 
 
30 year old actor Austin gives a simply incredible performance, one that only a mature and experience actor would be prepared for. He is a raising star and if he plays his cards right, he’ll be the next Robert De Niro. In recent interviews, he revealed that he spent two years preparing for this role, putting the rest of his life on hold as he was absorbing everything he could to immerse himself in his character. And he achieved it perfectly well. In his words: ‘I just went down the rabbit hole of obsession. And I broke down Elvis’ life into periods of time where I could hear the differences in how his voice changed over the years and how his movement changed over the years and I spent two years studying, trying to find his humanity as best as I could through that.’ 

Not only the mannerisms but also his facial features resemble the real Elvis. So much so that as spectators we feel in front of the legendary singer. In a recent interview, Butler told Entertainment Today: “When you live with something for two years and you do nothing else, I think that you can’t help it. It becomes a fiber of your being.”

Who is Austin Butler, though? I never really heard of him before. He is 30 and a former Disney star. He starred in 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and featured in TV series The Carrie Diaries and Zoey 101. But this latest performance marks his first major leading role and one he will always be remembered for. 

The movie even received a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest ovation at this year’s Cannes festival with Austin becoming emotional as the applause went on and on.

The ultimate message of this movie is never to loose our foundations because we would loose ourselves. Elvis could still be alive today if he hadn’t given in to people who mis-guided him. It makes me feel emotional to think that. Check this article by performance coach Rupert Hambly on what Elvis can teach us about health

On a light note, I love the Warner Bros logo at the beginning being bejewelled and shiny. 

I also loved how the movie explains the origin of Presley’s debut single, That’s All Right, showing the influence of gospels and black culture on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His manager at first was shocked to learn that the singer was white. 

As John Lennon once said, The Beatles wouldn’t exist without Elvis Presley. This film shows us why. The novelty of his music, his controversial pelvis-swivelling moves and rebelliousness in his attitude paved the way to artists who came after him. 

Overall Elvis is a fabulous movie. Three hours went by so quickly like no other movie before.  Neither Top Gun Maverick nor Avengers flicks can beat this biopic. I’d also say that it’s the best musical film I have seen since A star is born with Lady Gaga. I will watch this movie over and over again for many years to come. In fact I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD. 
 
 I would not change anything in this film and that’s why I have awarded it a score of 10 out of 10 (a very rare occurance). 
 
London Mums’ rating: 10/10 

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