This film was previously reviewed in June 2022 as part of our Cannes Film Festival coverage.

Baz Luhrmann’s spectacular, bedazzled musical biopic, Elvis, follows the life and career of actor and musician Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), from his childhood to his rise to international stardom, as told by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

Everything you expect from a Luhrmann film is put on display within the first ten minutes, but taken up to a hundred, with every aspect maximalist to the extreme. The start is so flashy and loud that it hardly gives you a chance to settle into this world, instead, you are thrown head first into the deep end. It’s chock-full of whip-pans and fast-paced editing, the best example of which occurs during Elvis’ first performance, where the main focus is on his pelvis, making the entire experience feel like one huge fever-dream. But for a film about the King of Rock and Roll, it somehow works despite its faults, which lie heavily in Hanks’ melodramatic, mediocre performance and fatuous narration, along with the lengthy run-time, where the beginning of the film feels like a hastily done montage and the end drags on for much too long. 

Fans of Elvis are sure to enjoy the musical numbers that feature his most iconic songs, but in its own right, Elvis is quite entertaining. This is not only because of Luhrmann’s vision and unique style of filmmaking, but also because the experience is heightened by Butler shining at the heart of the film with his charisma and fervor.

If you already aren’t a fan of Luhrmann’s musicals, this over-the-top, flamboyant spectacle will certainly be overwhelming. But to embody one of the most famous musicians ever is a massive undertaking and Butler has succeeded in every way. From his voice, to his mannerisms and dance moves, to his impressive musical performances, Butler delivers an Oscar-worthy performance.



CAST: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks

DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann

WRITERS: Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, Jeremy Doner

SYNOPSIS: The life and career of actor and musician Elvis Presley as told by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.