Any musician biopic, pretty much, is gonna be a legend or a tall tale. What’s great about Baz Luhrmann directing one is that his entire style leans into that. Condensing a whole life and career into an entertaining 2 1/2 hours requires shortcuts, cheats and artistic license that prevent it from being literally true, so here we have a director whose work is rarely about the literal truth anyway. It’s more about how something feels and looks and sounds, or making it look and sound like it feels. Biopics depend on montages to move quickly across time, and this guy speaks fluent montage. He’s also a director whose films have generally been on the verge of being jukebox musicals (going all the way in the case of MOULIN ROUGE!). So what could be more perfect for him than an Elvis Presley biopic?
ELVIS is absolutely presented as a legend, one told by Presley’s long time manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks, DRAGNET), who admits “there are some who’d make me out to be the villain of this here story,” and in between his justifications does come off as something of an evil mastermind. He addresses us decades after Elvis has passed, when he’s on his own death bed in a Las Vegas hospital room with a view of Star Trek: The Experience (1998-2008), but in his mind he’s also dragging his I.V. drip around an empty casino. (read the rest of this shit…)