A description of the new film ‘Elvis’ can be summed up in two words – it’s fantastic, and Austin Butler’s performance can be described as mesmerizing.
Butler becomes Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmanns newly-released film on the trials and tribulations in the life of the king of rock who died at the young age of 42 in 1977.
Told through the eyes of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks in a performance that is a bit distracting from the main larger than life character) who micro-managed every bit of Presley’s career, right down to not allowing him to travel internationally (Parker emigrated illegally to the United States at the age of 20.) But while the film begins and ends with Parker, it’s really all about Austin – I mean Presley.
It’s really hard to distinguish Austin from Presley because Austin looks like, sounds like, and acts like Presley, it’s actually like Presley himself is starring in his own movie. And the scenes of Elvis on stage in Las Vegas will send chills down your spine as Austin nails down all of Elvis’s movements, right down to his swivelling hips (which was too racy for American television at that time that he was filmed above the waist).
We get to see Elvis’s close relationship with his mother Gladys(Helen Thomson), and his father (a one-note performance by Richard Roxburgh), to when he went into the army where in a television moment he got his hair cut, to meeting 16-year old Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge) – whom he went on to marry in 1967. Then we are treated to his Las Vegas years which are the highlight of the film where you’ll get goosebumps watching Butler swivel on stage – it’s almost too much for the heart to take.
Luhrmann throws us for a loop in his direction as one might be expecting a Moulon Rouge fantasy style musical but ‘Elvis’ is pure biographical and it’s showcase is Butler. While Hanks has star billing but might be playing a bit too over the top , Butlers performance is just about perfect – and literally a star is born where he is a shoo-in come awards season.
And while the film is not 100% perfect, it’s a great tribute to Elvis.