Right there on the cover it says: A Baz Luhrmann Film and underneath that Elvis. That goes to show you who the star is of the film. This is probably true of all films Mr. Luhrmann has made. Films like Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom, The Great Gatsby, and Romeo + Juliet. Most of his films are products of his immense imagination, incredible visual way of telling a story, the music he uses, and that certain over-the-topness that is his and his alone. The Aussie is a star. Whether his films are up to his standards or not.

Elvis is Lurmann’s first film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby. For him, nothing seems to intimidate him. Not classic novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, not one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romances nor the biggest name in music history – Elvis Presley. Not surprising that the almost 60-year-old decided to make this film. He is a director who loves pageantry, bigness and music. All those words can be used to describe the singer from Memphis, Tennessee.

Here we get a long film (2 hours and 39 minutes) that tries to cram in most of the important moments in Elvis Presley’s life. We get young Elvis. The beginnings of his career. His relationship with Priscilla. Then the tragic end of his life. The lens through all of the career part – beginning to end – is told through the lens of his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks. Actually, the story of Elvis is told by Parker in a voiceover. Their relationship was a successful one, professionally, but it certainly was not without its bumps and bruises. Still, they were together for over 20 years.

Another important relationship is delved into here. The romance and then marriage with Priscilla. Taking on Priscilla and her impressive hairstyles is Olivia DeJonge, who has starred in films like The Visit and Better Watch Out.

All this – relationships and career – is set against the backdrop of all the important social, historical and cultural events going on. Things like the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Korean War and racism against blacks in the United States all make up part of the story here.

Taking on the gigantic ask of any actor is Austin Butler. Unknown to me before this film, Butler had done a couple of Nickelodeon series as a young actor then moved on to roles in One Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Dude. Nothing too big in those films. Now he is taking on the King of Rock and Roll. Big jump! That being said he does a great job. Able to take on one of the best known and loved music stars and bring out his humanity. Often we are reminded that Elvis was just a human being like the rest of us. He does not exactly look like the King (I mean, that is asking too much) but he certainly moves like Elvis. This is much more than an impersonation. Kudos to the fact that he does his own singing in the film too.

Do not make the mistake of going into this thinking you will learn things about Elvis (unless you go in knowing nothing). It is not a biopic. It is a gala representation of his life. The is a drama at its most cinematic. Big, bold and colourful. Very Baz Luhrmann.

Special Features:

  • Bigger Than Life: The Making of Elvis
  • Rock ‘N Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind Elvis
  • Fit for a King; The Style of Elvis
  • Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for Elvis
  • “Trouble” Lyric Video