Baz Luhrmann isn‘t a storyteller, he‘s a showman. The actual protagonist of the film isn‘t Elvis, but rather Elvis‘ manager Colonel Tom Parker, one of the most hated villains in show business.
Baz Luhrmann‘s films have two modes: intoxicating hallucination and the downfall. This was the case in ROMEO + JULIET, but more obvious in MOULIN ROUGE!, still his best film, which re-invented the Hollywood musical, in THE GREAT GATSBY, and now also in ELVIS. It‘s clear from the first second that this is about a downfall. The film tells the story of one of the most hated villains in show business: “Colonel“ Tom Parker, the manager and bloodsucker of Elvis Presley, who prevented the musician from performing live for decades, drafted him in the army, let him film banal B-musicals, forced him into unfair contracts with Las Vegas hotels and made him into a world-renowned idol, yet also financially exploited him and stifled his creativity.
Parker‘s death is the framework, the entire film is Parker‘s hallucination and apology. In the beginning it is all honky tonk, a carneval. Everything turns and flashes, which is what usually happens in Luhrmann‘s films. Enter the devil Parker (Tom Hanks) and teenage God Elvis, ex-child star Austin Butler, doing the best he can without really getting the chance to fit in with Luhrmann‘s conceptual framework. Elvis‘ music and stage presence play a supporting role here. The focus is on the perspective of the greedy, puritanical, small-minded con man,
As a film about the destruction of Elvis Presley, Luhrmann‘s film is a success. Luhrmann isn‘t a great storyteller, he‘s a showman who can effectively produce dark thrills. What the film doesn‘t do is give an impression of Elvis‘s energy, humor and creativity, a notion of what could‘ve been. Elvis remains a victim in the film, a symbol of the stifling of creativity, the hindrance of a break out, the destruction of cultural resistance against the evil, old America.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
Genre: Drama, Biography
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Author: Sam Bromell, Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
DOP: Mandy Walker
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Luke Bracey, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Olivia DeJonge, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
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