Elvis is visually tiring but makes for a great biopic with impressive acting

Austin Butler and Tom Hanks star in this thrilling biopic of rock & roll legend Elvis Presley


Elvis was released on June 22 in theaters.

Ryan Dallas, Writer

Elvis is a biopic of rock & roll legend Elvis Presley directed and produced by Baz Luhrmann. It was released in theaters on June 24, 2022.

Luhrmann is best known for his directing of the 1995 remake of Romeo + Juliet, as well as the 2013 remake of The Great Gatsby, both starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

The general consensus of this film is that it’s pretty good. This movie has a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes and the audience score is 94%. It also has an average of 3.6/5 stars on Letterboxd.

Austin Butler stars as Elvis Presley. This movie goes through Elvis’ rise to major stardom as well as his fall, as most biopics cover.

There are many complaints about the run time being 2 hours and 39 minutes,  but I personally don’t mind. The movie doesn’t crawl along — it’s interesting and fast-paced despite it’s long run time.

Tom Hanks stars as Elvis’ controversial agent Col. Tom Parker who started as an agent for 1950s country singer Hank Snow.

This film was good, but it starkly misrepresented the relationship Elvis had with the Black community. The movie portrays Elvis as this guy who appreciated and tried to represent Black culture in society by singing their music, when it was much more like stealing their music and profiting from it. 

This wasn’t a wise decision by Baz Luhrmann. As a viewer, I would rather have a truthful story rather than a “feel good” story. The decision was wrong and based in greed — consumers typically want something joyful. I don’t agree with the choice whatsoever as it is very misrepresenting of the culture that was taken advantage of.

This movie also goes through a few cultural shocks that bring emotions of sadness as well as a sense of unity, which I liked.  

It goes through every era of Elvis’ fame. 

They briefly touched on his drug use, and that was easily was one of my favorite emotional movies scenes of the year. Knowing the raw background behind his death was so emotional and well down. It makes me feel like I experienced it as it was happening in history.

The cinematography is very bright at times making it tiring, but most of it I was able to get through. It wasn’t as bright as the poster advertised it to be, and many scenes are more dim lighting to convey a somber tone.

The costumes were top tier — as usual with a Baz Luhrmann film. They are one of if not the best part of this movie. 

Austin Butler delivers an absolutely phenomenal performance as Elvis. He studied him for two years and kept in character for so long. It’s impressive to see how dedicated he was to this role. I very much believe he should be in the conversation for Best Actor at the 95th Academy (Oscars) Awards.

Tom Hanks unfortunately delivers a subpar performance and in my eyes didn’t really fit the role of Colonel Parker. They should’ve used somebody that could pull of such an unlikeable person because Hanks personality just didn’t fit. It didn’t feel authentic at all.

This movie was good, but doesn’t interpret some elements of his fame very well, which makes for more of a feel good story rather than a full true story of Elvis Presley’s fame.

As of Sept. 19, 2022, Elvis is available to stream on HBO Max as well as to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video.

I initially gave this movie a 4.5/5 on Letterboxd, but after a rewatch, I would reduce it down to a 4/5. Despite the movie being good, however, it does not excuse the insensitive decisions and mistakes depicted.