The lights go down and the show begins. appears on stage Elvis Presley, who was -and always will be- the most emblematic figure in rock history. A mythological animal from the United States that could not not have its own biopic. After passing through the Cannes Festival, on June 24 it will be released in Spanish cinemas Elvisa film focused on exploring the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) through the complicated relationship he shared with Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), his enigmatic manager.

Despite the fact that the musician and singer is the true protagonist, the narrator of the story will be Parker, in charge of tracing the timeline since Presley rose to the top and met the one who would be Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge), until his death. stardom, all in the midst of a cultural and political revolution that led to the loss of innocence in the United States.

Although it is really surprising to see the Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann face a biography as complex as that of Elvis, it is no less expected that his camera decided to frame the life of the artist, taking into account that his filmography lists stories that choose the glitter of a glorious past, or even rock their characters to the sound of unforgettable soundtracks. It was only a matter of time before the director came face to face with a genius like this and, luckily, he has been able to put himself at his height to pay him the tribute he deserves.

The film follows Elvis and reviews his most important stages: the beginning of his career in 1955 until 1960 -which was when he had to leave for military service in Germany-, and his spectacular return to the stage in 1968, recalling how it was the great special that swept and made television history and his show in Las Vegas. However, Elvis is not just a biographical journey, and what Luhrmann is showing us his most personal vision of the musician and how he became a legend.

To achieve this, he immerses the viewer in an illustrated novel, coloring the first moments in which a very young Elvis fell in love with music and went into ecstasy, and also making it clear from which source he draws all his discography: rhythm and blues, gospel and, in short, a frenetic rhythm that makes the body and hips uncontrollable, and that was associated in a derogatory way with the African-American population.

In fact, Elvis inherited from them his groundbreaking movements -which shocked many- and together with his unparalleled talent and the influence of artists like BB King and the gift with which he was born, they were the ones that elevated him and made him stand out among others. more conventional artists and styles.

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Following the path that Tom Parker points out to us – from the beginning he challenges us by saying that he is the protagonist of the story – we end up reaching the face of the legend, the man he would take by the band and squeeze until the end of his days. That man was the great Elvis Presley, whom Austin Butler plays with the energy, glitter and respect that the role requires. Behind the toupee and the kilos and kilos of hair gel, the actor turns to us and turns the superhero into a person of flesh and blood, giving us a performance full of sparkles, nuances and much admiration.

However, when the lights go out and the cameras stop rolling, the quintessential villain springs into action, also known as Colonel Parker, a master of illusionism and manipulation who was willing to do anything to fulfill his own goals. objectives, even if this meant taking that artist from Tennessee ahead. in this role also highlights the unquestionable work of Tom Hankswho knows how to win over the protagonist and the public with his performance behind the makeup that almost leaves him unrecognizable.

The relationship between the two is the fundamental pillar not only of the film, but also of the career of the musician, who comes to define himself at a given moment as a bird that has no legs. Both living beings spend their lives flying, without landing anywhere, and even have to sleep in mid-flight. Both also know that they cannot stop and that if they do they will die trying.

Tom Hanks and Austin Butler as Tom Parker and Elvis in 'Elvis.'

Tom Hanks and Austin Butler as Tom Parker and Elvis in ‘Elvis.’

The rhythm to which the artist submits pollutes us and makes us feel uncomfortable and exhausted as spectators. It is an enjoyment to see Elvis doing what he likes the most and what makes him happy, but at the same time, it becomes a suffering to observe from the sidelines how he had to leave everything behind to respond to his public, or rather, to the goals set by his manager. With this he had to get away from Priscilla, a person who, as portrayed in each scene, was relegated to the background.

Once we have seen the rise of the rock star and his return to the stage after the break, Luhrmann lifts the needle of the record player and, barely allowing the audience to assimilate Elvis’s successful career, dares to lower the volume of the music. In the midst of a very complicated social and political context in the United States, the king of rock would have to give way to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, who while he was entertaining himself shooting one movie after another, they were clear about the role they played In the music’s world.

Luckily for his fans, Elvis did not throw in the towel and although his career was never the same, he decided to return to the stage -and star in a historical event on television-.

One of the final scenes of 'Elvis'.

One of the final scenes of ‘Elvis’.

Remains the final touch with which the Australian filmmaker will bid farewell to the idol and the legend in this tribute, leaving us dumbfounded once again with a very personal love letter to music, opera and tragedy -three essentials in Luhrmann’s films-. In the last act, and trying to be in tune with this icon and with the musical and visual display that surrounds him, Austin Butler surrenders to his audience once again and shows us the last great hits of the rock idol who, without knowing it, I would end up locked in a gilt cage.

Once the spotlights go out, the microphones and speakers are unplugged and the audience leaves, there is only the deafening noise left by emptiness and sadness. In Elvis, the great villain seems to have won the war and the singer’s room darkens, the curtain falls and the arrival of the final sunset is anticipated. We know what the outcome of this story is.

At the age of 42, Elvis died in 1977, but before leaving he said that “Without a song, the day would never end”. A few years later, Baz Luhrmann reminds us how this sentence and its history actually ends, because Elvis Presleythe king of rock -and also the soloist who has sold the most records in history-, he promised that he would “keep singing” and would do so, to this day.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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