Elvis tops the charts


Nicollette Arabie, Editorial Team

Last June, Baz Lurhmann came out with the artistic masterpiece of a biopic about Elvis. The movie follows the life story of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), through the eyes and words of his controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

This movie, like so many of Lurhmann’s other films, is a masterpiece. The movie was able to showcase Elvis’s life in two and a half hours, filled with bright colors and some of the best music choices, mixing Elvis songs with modern artists, like Diplo, Denzel Washington, Tame Impala, and original songs sung by Doja Cat. My personal favorite song from the album, the song originally performed by Big Mama Thornton, and rewritten by Elvis, Hound Dog, was performed by Shonka Dukureh.

Casting was also perfect. Austin Butler did an impressive job playing Elvis and also sang songs for the album. If you listen to the song “Trouble” you can barely tell the difference between Butler and Elvis. Butler also looked perfect for the role, with jet black hair and sharp blue eyes. Olivia DeJonge played Pricsilla Presley, also looking perfect and giving a fantastic performance in the few scenes she was in, especially towards the end of the movie during Elvis’s fall into tragedy. And for those of you thinking Tom Hanks can’t be a villain, this movie will prove you wrong. Tom Hanks played Elvis’s manager, Tom Parker, otherwise known as the Colonel. Hanks was almost able to make you feel sympathetic for the Colonel, but then left you hating the character ten times more. Finally, the movie also introduced one of the women they found while looking for inspiration in Memphis. Shonka Durukeh plays Big Mama Thornton, and despite never having been on the big screen before, is incredible. She is a gospel singer in Memphis and had never left her city before Lurhmann offered her the job. My only complaint about her character is that I think she needed more screen time.

This movie, like its namesake, is on track to becoming a cult classic, and audiences and critics have and will either love it with all their heart or hate it with the very depths of their soul. Most of the people who love the movie are people that know all about Elvis’s life story and the people that hate it are people who know bits and pieces and dislike the way that Lurhmann cut from one part of Elvis’s life to the next in quick succession. And while there is some jumpiness in the flow of the movie, giving every aspect of Elvis’s life the time it is due would have created a movie far too long to sit through.

Elvis is a pop culture icon for a reason, and this movie will thrill those who already love him and initiate those who don’t. And as of Friday, the movie became available for streaming on HBO Max – it’s time to check it out.