Film Review: Elvis (2022); Directed by Baz Luhrmann

Elvis (2022); directed by Baz Luhrmann

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

I don’t know what I really expected going into Elvis, the recent biopic about the world-famous and best-selling solo musician of all time, Elvis Presley. Knowing that Baz Luhrmann was the director was certainly a big draw. If nothing else, his films are stylistic dreamscapes: lush, ostentatious, and to be quite frank, extremely pretty. The Australian auteur is no stranger to the telling of epic stories, and I don’t think any other director could have tackled the story of Elvis Presley with more grace, grit, passion, or panache. His respect for his subject is evident in every frame, as is his love for glitter and bombast. The man loves his pyrotechnics, and any film about the King of Rock and Roll would be remiss without them.

If nothing else, his [Luhrmann’s] films are stylistic dreamscapes: lush, ostentatious, and to be quite frank, extremely pretty.

Austin Butler’s Elvis is no caricature. It would have been extremely easy to allow a performance such as this one to veer into mockumentary territory, but Butler has the acting chops to steer the ship in a much more honest and human direction. His Elvis is wholly real. His dreams and ambitions, choked and stymied by the pressures of fame and the realities of being the biggest star in the world, take a back burner to maintaining the image of Elvis, the moneymaker and icon as opposed to the man himself. He’s not only playing Elvis; for 2 hours and 39 minutes, he is Elvis.

His dreams and ambitions, choked and stymied by the pressures of fame and the realities of being the biggest star in the world, take a back burner to maintaining the image of Elvis, the moneymaker and icon as opposed to the man himself.

Butler’s universally-acclaimed performance already has many talking about him as the front-runner for next year’s Oscar for the Best Actor in a Leading Role. I agree. It goes without saying that he will be nominated, and unless I see another performance that is so riveting it takes my breath away, I will safely assume he’ll be walking away with a golden statue that night. The film also benefits from strong supporting performances from everyman Tom Hanks, who plays Presley’s slimy manager/promoter Colonel Tom Parker; and Olivia DeJonge, in her mainstream debut as Priscilla Presley. According to DeJonge in an interview she did with British Vogue, she found out she had landed the role some four months after her audition in a text message from Luhrmann’s team. Needless to say, I think we’ll be seeing much more from her.

Finally, I want to talk about the costumes in this film. With a style icon like Elvis Presley as the subject matter, any costume designer would have more than a full plate’s worth of work ahead of them in recreating the entertainer’s iconic looks. Catherine Martin, a four-time Oscar winner and the wife of Baz Luhrmann, has worked on a slew of his previous films: Romeo + Juliet (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Australia (2008), and The Great Gatsby (2013). Her work in Elvis is nothing short of spectacular, somehow managing to take the familiar and making it fresh, vivacious, and exciting. I think she’ll be adding another Oscar to her shelf come next year.

Her [Martin’s] work in Elvis is nothing short of spectacular, somehow managing to take the familiar and making it fresh, vivacious, and exciting.

All in all, I really enjoyed Elvis. Was it a perfect film? No, but I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect film, at least not when you’re recreating the lives of real people, some of whom are still living. I think it captured the spirit of Elvis and what he’s meant to American culture. I also think it managed to illuminate who he was as a person apart from the bright lights and big stages he graced while on Earth. The pain is there, sure, but so is the passion. The love and devotion, the heartache, the beauty and the fame. The flame snuffed out far too soon. That’s more than anyone could ask.

The pain is there, sure, but so is the passion. The love and devotion, the heartache, the beauty and the fame. The flame snuffed out far too soon. That’s more than anyone could ask.

Elvis was released in the United States on June 24th, 2022 by Warner Bros. Pictures and is now available to stream on HBO Max as well as other streaming and video on demand platforms.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Exhaustion and Burnout: Part One

First of all, I’d like to apologize for not posting as often as I usually do on here recently. I love writing this blog and I feel bad that as of late, it’s had to take the back burner on the stove of my life.

For the past several weeks, I’ve had to work longer hours at work. Two of my employees have had COVID, and since I’m the General Manager and the only salaried employee at my store, any labor shortages or slack immediately become my responsibility. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m almost dead. Last week, I clocked 61.98 hours, and that’s not including the lunches I worked through catching up on paperwork that I’ve had to neglect.

The thing that sucks the most about the whole ordeal is that the harder I work and the more I accomplish, it still seems like it’s never enough. The backlogged projects still shout at me. The unreasonable expectations of higher-ups still loom over me. They expect me to be more than human, to function like a well-oiled machine, but I just can’t. I’m unfortunately human. I have feelings. I get tired. I’ve been living off of candy and fast food for weeks because I’m always too tired to make anything better.

My bowels are irritated. I’ve had to hold myself and medicate myself to the point where my stomach is never not hurting. I take medicine to go and medicine to stop going, and I haven’t been allowed to simply go when I need to in so long that it’s going to take me a while to straighten myself out. Some days I don’t eat until I get home at night because I’m afraid that if I eat it will give me the urge to go and then my sales floor will be unattended.

Does my boss care? No. When I hear from her at all, it’s for her to inquire about my progress and to ask about our sales numbers. What are you doing to motivate your team to success? When will your excess truck be out? Why haven’t you made progress toward the XYZ project and do you have an estimated completion date? What conversations are you having with customers to promote our programs? Your sales numbers are not reflective of company expectations. Please tell me what you are doing to change that momentum and move the needle in a positive direction. One day, I’m going to just start screaming and I won’t be able to stop.

I’m a cog in the machine. If I drop dead, they’ll eventually (sooner or later) replace me with some poor schmuck who’ll probably get paid even less than I do. May God have mercy on their soul.

I want to say more about all of this but it will have to wait for another day. I actually get a day off tomorrow and I intend on sleeping in. Take care and thanks for listening.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 10th, 2022

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

Booker T. Washington

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 9th, 2022

Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of help except by being kind, generous, and patient.

Henry Miller

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 8th, 2022

Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas Edison

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 7th, 2022

I don’t know that there are any shortcuts to doing a good job.

Sandra Day O’Connor

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 6th, 2022

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

Benjamin Franklin

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 5th, 2022

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.

Thurgood Marshall

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 4th, 2022

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mahatma Gandhi

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: August 3rd, 2022

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

Alice Walker

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.