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Just a movie fanatic who likes to talk about... movies! It first began with heated conversations with friends. Then jotting down some thoughts on my notes app. Then finally gaining the courage to post a review on Facebook. And now this! I do not claim to be the end be all of movie opinions, and expect much of my personal thoughts to contradict those of others. I hope to keep these reviews casual and just a fun read for any all who have also enjoyed the movies discussed. A lot of them with contain spoilers, and best read if you've already seen the movie. Thank you for checking this out, and please, leave a comment so we can start discussing!

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  • Writer's picturePauline

ELVIS

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

"Elvis," directed by Baz Luhrmann.


I struggle to coherently gather my thoughts on a movie that made me feel so many negative emotions because of how utterly unpleasant of a time I had, sitting for 2 and a half hours watching a movie that felt like just a very, very, very long trailer (or music video), and with levels of sensory overload enough to make one nauseous.


From the very first sequence of flashing lights, neon colors, whirling imagery, and scene cuts that were barely long enough to understand what I was looking at, I was nervous. All that, paired with an introductory monologue from Tom Hanks, whose accent rendered him completely incoherent, it set a tone of sensationalism and spectacle which barely ever slowed down throughout the whole story.


I wish I had more to say on Austin Butler's performance, but other than posing and dancing like Elvis (which he did very well!), there were very few scenes where it was just two characters, face to face, having a real conversation. And so I walked away from the story knowing very little more about Elvis than I did before. It felt like the only source material they had for the movie came from a Wikipedia page. They summed up a lot of his important life events into snippy montages, oh, but then would take 30 minutes to make sure we understood that his gyrating hips made women moan in the audience... I promise you, we understood it the first 20 shots you showed us of that.


Tom Hanks character was not all that interesting, and the line he delivers at the end of "it's not me, and it's not the drugs that killed Elvis.. it was his love for you (the fans)" feels like a complete and total erasure of the real drug abuse and difficulties Elvis battled at the end of the life. And also ignoring how much of a terrible person this manager really was. To wrap it up with such an insipid line felt shameful, and to try to convince your audience that this villain is actually... a good guy? Totally confusing message.


The only moment I was touched was at the very end, when they showed us the original footage of Elvis performing. Those 30 seconds touched me more than the whole hour and 20 minutes I'd just watched.


Overall, a vapid, superficial, and sad summing up of what could have been a fascinating portrait on a man who not many people know intimately about.

Maybe Baz heard about the "tiktok" generation (I include myself in this) and decided he'd try appealing to them by making a movie that seemed to overcompensate younger people's lack of attention span. But maybe all he proved is how much the brain does in fact have a limit to the information it can and wants to take in.

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