Elvis (2022) full movie streaming
After the extended Elvis trailer premiered during Warner Bros Pictures’ 2022 CinemaCon panel, I tweeted: “Calling it now – #Elvis will catapult Austin Butler into superstar status.” I stood by that declaration after additional footage dropped, and I continue to feel justified with my early praise of Butler after watching the gorgeous music-driven drama. (I hate eating crow so I’m super happy to have been proved correct.)
Writer/director Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is a tale of good versus evil with no middle ground. Elvis, of course, is the good in this equation and Colonel Tom Parker (played by Oscar winner Tom Hanks) is the evil. Luhrmann doesn’t allow for either colorful character to break out of their assigned box. Elvis is shown as a decent man struggling with living life in the spotlight while Parker doesn’t possess a single redeeming quality.
Is the Moulin Rouge director’s interpretation a fair take on Elvis’ relationship with Parker? Yes, according to a source who had a front row seat to this battle between an artist who was basically held prisoner and his corrupt manager/jailer. “It is a true story told brilliantly and creatively that only Baz, in his unique artistic way, could have delivered,” wrote the love of Elvis’ life, Priscilla Presley, on social media.
It’s the tragic story of a talented young man who grew up dirt poor, fell in love with gospel music, and became a movie star/musical icon driven to an early death by a greedy, opportunistic liar. Elvis touches on Presley’s youth in Tupelo, MS, his close relationship with his beloved mother, and his father’s run-in with the law. The future rock star’s teen years reveal how the groundbreaking artist became the star of female audiences’ dreams and the nightmare of authorities who viewed his hip gyrations and pelvic thrusts as criminally provocative.
Told with lots of razzle-dazzle, the film concentrates on the relationship between Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker and often neglects or glosses over some of the most interesting periods of Elvis’ lengthy, groundbreaking career. Even at 159 minutes long, there’s so much story left to be told that it feels that not making a trilogy – or at the very least a two-parter – is a real missed opportunity.
Austin Butler’s incredible, mesmerizing performance as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will help bring a new generation of fans into the Elvis Presley fold. Butler’s completely keyed into this performance, channeling the still-popular entertainer with such dedication that it’s a shame audiences won’t get more of an extended opportunity to watch him transform on screen. Butler delivers a sexually charged, raw performance and the care he took in capturing every nuance of the larger-than-life performer is evident in every frame.
Tom Hanks rarely has to play second-fiddle at this stage in his career but he gracefully yields the Elvis spotlight to Butler. Obviously, both Hanks and Butler’s performances are central to the film’s success, but it’s Butler who outshines the more seasoned actor. There are a few scenes in which Hank’s accent feels forced but that doesn’t really detract from his terrific performance as a carnival show barker turned mustache-twirling villain.
Olivia DeJonge looks like a young Priscilla Presley and she does a fine job of capturing the initial sweetness and innocence of the couple’s relationship through its ultimate demise. The genuine chemistry between DeJonge and Butler helps to gloss over the large gaps in the story of their relationship.
We can expect to hear cinematographer Mandy Walker and production designers Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy mentioned during awards season. Elvis is a feast for the eyes and their work is absolutely stunning.
Luhrmann’s a brilliant showman and with Elvis it’s a perfect match of subject and filmmaker. His sumptuous tribute to the iconic performer is at its best when Austin Butler’s seen on stage, giving over his body to the music, and making audiences believe Elvis hasn’t yet left the building.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for substance abuse, strong language, smoking, and suggestive material
Running Time: 159 minutes
Release Date: June 24, 2022
Cast: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Dacre Montgomery, Luke Bracey, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr, David Wenham, Helen Thomson, Xavier Samuel, and Chaydon Jay