Elvis is one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters – but how does Austin Butler do as the King? (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures)
What happens when the director of Moulin Rouge! makes a film about Elvis? A lot of shake, rattle and razzmatazz.
Baz Luhrmann certainly hasn’t toned his signature style down for this busy biopic that’s both long and fast, zooming in and out of key moments in the singer’s life at speed, with a focus on his relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
The King himself is played by Austin Butler, and boy does he deliver: from the swagger to the voice, he embodies Elvis and swiftly makes you forget you’re watching the kid from The Carrie Diaries.
It’s a star-making turn.
Unfortunately, Hanks fares less well as his manager.
Wearing prosthetics and putting on a distracting foreign accent (Parker was actually Dutch), Hanks feels too much like a caricature, waddling into the picture like an uninvited guest at a snazzy party.
Butler delivers as Elvis Presley in this star-making turn (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Tom Hanks stars as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker (Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures)
He’s meant to be an unpleasant, manipulative figure, but he certainly looks out of place in a ritzy Luhrmann film.
Elvis fans might wish more time was spent with the singer, whose character is drawn with broad brushstrokes – ditto his wife Priscilla (Olivia DeJonge).
All that said, it’s an entertaining insight into Elvis’ career and working relationships, and a few performance scenes are electrifying: the first Vegas show is recreated in dazzling detail.
It’s poignant when Elvis begins to derail, obliged to perform in a casino for five years.
You’re left with a picture of a talented man who spent his final years caught in a trap – and yes, it is heartbreaking in that hotel.
Elvis is in cinemas across the UK from June 24.
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