‘Elvis’, dizzying musical about the king of rock

Excessive, fast-paced and luxurious… this is how Baz Luhrmann has portrayed the life of Elvis Presley in a film that maintains the unmistakable hallmark of the director of ‘Moulin Rouge’ and focuses on the complex relationship that the king of rock, played by Austin Butler, maintained with your representative.

From his discovery, as a young music fan in the vibrant scene of Memphis, to his death, exhausted in his Las Vegas suite, the chameleon-like Butler recreates, over nearly three hours of non-stop footage, all the stages of music icon.

«Seeing him in this role is something that does not happen on a regular basis. Ever since he sent in a video for the test, ever since he walked in the door, he has shown a level of learning and care that is spectacular.”

Baz Luhrmann.

Almost a decade after directing Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Great Gatsby’ (2013), and more than twenty after the emblematic and unforgettable ‘Moulin Rouge’ (2001), the Australian filmmaker has repeated his grandiloquent formula to narrate the lights and shadows of Presley’s career in the context of the cultural revolution and the loss of innocence in America.

«The spectator is the only thing that matters to me. I make movies for the cinema, and I hope it will be seen by the widest possible audience.”

Not even his own actors know what to expect from his ideas:

“When you’re filming he makes you repeat things in many ways and works with four cameras. So I had no idea what I was going to see.”

Austin Butler.

Supported by surprising tricks of production and a dizzying pace, ‘Elvis’ goes beyond the biographical musical classic telling, in truth, the story of two people: the musician and his discoverer.

An unrecognizable Tom Hanks constitutes the other leg of the film by putting himself in the shoes of Presley’s enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker, a businessman who discovered his talent and managed, between successes and errors, his astronomical career.

Thus, in a choice that only Luhrmann could make, the film starts from the prism of the agent that he found in the young Presley, with a velvety voice and an agitated movement of the hips, the definitive show to make gold.

It is precisely through these shows, the way in which the film’s script advances. With a different Elvis on each stage, wrapped in an evolved aesthetic and before a different audience.

“It was not easy. I single-handedly selected each concert, but based on those that best told the story, not my favorites.”

Although a large percentage of the two hours and forty minutes of the footage is taken up by the most transcendental performances in the musician’s career, the film takes advantage of the silences to narrate the pirouettes that Presley had to carry out.

From a very young age he dealt with a public opinion that was scandalized by his exploitation of male sensuality and was reluctant to link him to the fight for civil rights.

The film avoids that behind each strategy, each performance and interview, there was always Parker, his right-hand man, who could take up to 50 percent of his earnings with the blessing of the musician.

Neither Presley’s life with Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) in the famous Graceland villa, nor his link with black music figures such as BB King or Little Richard, overshadow Luhrmann’s fixation on getting closer to the team formed by Parker and Presley. As lucrative as destructive.

When his fame in Hollywood began to show signs of exhaustion, the agent took him to Las Vegas to star in a fixed show that lasted for six years in which Presley became bankrupt and developed a drug addiction until his death. .

Parker, an inveterate gambler, would later die surrounded by roulette wheels and gaming machines.

Javier Romualdo / EFE

Photos from EFE and Facebook @ElvisMovie

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