It is still a Tuesday and keeping up with some of the International content, I decided to watch and review Elvis which is streaming on Amazon Prime. Now I do realise I am late to the party not by days or weeks but by months! With the onslaught of content every week, certain content just gets limited to your watchlist and slowly lost into oblivion. I obviously do not like that one bit and so last night I did make a conscious call of going through my endless watchlist and hand-picking a film from that to watch and review. And suddenly I stumbled upon Elvis that was long overdue and it would also mean disservice if a biopic of Elvis Presley is not watched and reviewed. So then does Elvis make for a rollicking watch, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Elvis is a biographical drama on the life of Elvis Presley as seen through the eyes of his manager Colonel Tom Parker. The story here is dazzling and filled with glitz and glam. There is a consistent effort made on the tone of the film in making it bright and vibrant. The screenplay standing at about a 160 minutes may seem daunting but if you are a fan of the legend and fan of his work, there are plenty of moments that you will take along with you over the course of the film.
The drama opens with a voiceover, featuring the manager of Elvis Presley and it is through his gaze that we are given a glimpse into his world of rock and roll. I really did enjoy its world building where a young Elvis took a liking to the music culture that was prevalent in his neighbourhood. But it was indeed the genius of the man to imbibe that culture and spell it out into a style of his own that arguably revolutionized the music industry for days to follow. We also get a glimpse of his fanatic fandom through his vibrant and dazzling performances.
One of the strongest aspects of the drama and a fact that I was oblivious about was the political angle to the biopic. Many of Elvis’ songs had a political statement to them, based on all the current affairs taking place in his country at that point of time. This also did give a glimpse into the psyche of the individual who may have slowly been depressed only to channelize it through his music. And yes he was a rebel too which was very distinctly shown in a scene there a supposed Christmas Special went into a political overdrive but not before being lapped up by the audience.
The drama is predictable and follows the standard heartbeats of a biopic. But what compliments the drama well is its music which beautifully blends itself with the proceedings. Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, music does play an important part in the screenplay which also rescues the screenplay when the writing runs thin. But essentially at its core, the film is an exploration of the delicate relationship between Elvis and his manager, the two representing the two extremes of ideologies and fate. While one is still remembered as a legend, the other is forgotten into oblivion. Their strained companionship is well explored that does make for a compelling watch.
The events leading up to the final act have a sense of remorse to it wherein it pains to see the downfall of an artist due to his health. But as they say, you can take the artist out of the art but never the art out of the artist, and so the final act does pay a fitting tribute to the legend of rock and roll who may have inspired many a generations! All in all, the screenplay is predictable but absolutely dazzling!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but make for an impactful viewing. The music is an integral element here that constantly fuels the drama. There is also a sense of nostalgia listening to its beats simply because every Elvis Presley song would have a memory attached to it! The BGM is vibrant as is the cinematography that definitely manages to bedazzle the viewers with the bright use of lighting. Director Baz Luhrmann does a sparkling job in keeping the vibe associated with the artist intact. Often biopics do paint a grim picture of the individual, the case in point being Blonde, but here the vibe and tempo of the drama makes for an exceptional watch.
All the actors have done a tremendous job although the focus is constantly on the duo of Elvis and his manager who share a warm chemistry onscreen. Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker has a different getup yet again and he delivers a great performance in a weird accent(in a good way). Austin Butler as Elvis is the star of the show! Not only does he deliver in terms of the emotional quotient of the individual, but the character also required that sense of physicality with a lot of energy, especially with those pelvic thrusts. And the man delivers and how! This was a stupendous performance which is charming, complex and layered of an individual who is and will continue to be regarded as the legend of rock and roll!
Elvis is a dazzling chronicle of an Immortal Icon that makes for a vibrant watch. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended!