Cannes Film Festival |  Elvis is sought and is not found

Cannes Film Festival | Elvis is sought and is not found

(Cannes) One wonders what it is Elvis, the new film by Baz Luhrmann. Is it a musical, a biographical drama, a comic book adaptation, a superhero movie, or a pastiche? The Australian filmmaker himself doesn’t seem to know much, which is why he often changes the register in this 2h 39m film that he fails to move by drowning in mise-en-scène artifices.

The world premiere ofElvispresented out of competition at the Grand Théâtre Lumière on Wednesday night, it was undoubtedly the most anticipated event of this 75Y Cannes film festival The film, of course, received thunderous applause at the end of the screening. The opposite would have been almost unthinkable in the presence of Luhrmann as well as actors Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Priscilla Presley, the King’s widow, who has been raving about the film on social media for a week.

Baz Luhrmann is a regular at the Cannes Film Festival. His first feature film strictly ballroom which was screened this week as part of the Cinéma à la plage cycle was presented in the Un Certain Regard section in 1992. Red windmill! inaugurated the Festival and the competition in 2001, and The Great Gatsby was also the opening film in 2013.

Luhrmann says he chose Austin Butler, 30, to play Elvis “because he’s an actor who can not only naturally replicate this unique artist’s distinctive body language and vocal qualities, but also his vulnerability.”

The Butler transformation, which we see in particular in Once upon a time…in Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino, is incredible. He lends his voice to Presley’s songs, which have been reinterpreted and sometimes rearranged to suit the taste of the day…but not always in the best taste.


Tom Hanks, Baz Luhrmann, and Austin Butler at the film’s premiere Elvis presented on Wednesday night in Cannes.

The filmmaker’s movie problem Red windmill! it’s because we don’t believe in any of its characters. They are so cartoonish that they have the depth and magnetism of a cardboard movie poster. “I’m a superhero,” says Elvis, and it seems that Lurhmann has turned him, in his usual way, into a character from Cartoon.

Tom Hanks, who plays Elvis’ impresario, the enigmatic and Machiavellian Colonel Tom Parker, is so grotesquely made up that he reminds me of the Fat Bastard character played by Mike Myers in Austin powers. Especially since she has a hint of a pseudo-Dutch accent in his voice, to recall the businessman’s dark origins.


Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks plays Colonel Tom Parker in the Elvis film by Baz Luhrmann.

East biopic chronological and hyperactive on the life and work of Elvis Presley, he is especially interested in the dependent relationship between the legendary singer and this famous Colonel Parker, who was his employer for 21 years. “He treated him like a monkey in a cage,” says Jerry Lee Lewis in Ethan Coen’s documentary about him, which premiered at Cannes earlier this week. “He locked me in this gilded cage,” says Elvis in the Baz Luhrmann film.

Colonel Parker was conducting a circus show when he heard “that young white man singing like a black” on the radio. He immediately understood that he was holding a diamond in the rough in his hands. The Elvis story is also told from the point of view of the Colonel, who reportedly gave himself 50% of his protégé’s income.


Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Baz Luhrmann, Priscilla Presley, Alton Mason, and Natasha Bassett at Cannes

The two men, Luhrmann suggests, were at times at odds. Elvis was perhaps less under the colonel’s control than one might think, but never independent enough to get rid of him. Parker always found a new trick (the Las Vegas residency, for example) to convince Presley to remain faithful to him. The script, unfortunately, doesn’t fully understand the fundamentals and intricacies of its dynamic.

This hagiography of the King of rock and roll also touches very little on the dark side of the artist, except to make us understand that by dint of being under house arrest in Las Vegas by the colonel, Elvis, overworked, ended up becoming addicted. to barbiturates.

It’s not detailed in his story, but it happens like a hair in the soup, and suddenly Elvis Presley, bloated, dies in 1977, at the age of 42.

He didn’t die of a heart attack or an overdose of pills, Colonel Parker maintains at the end of the film. He died of loving his public more than his own life.

Baz Luhrmann tries to draw a parallel between the existence of this larger-than-life character and the turmoil of the time in the United States, with the fight for civil rights and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers. It’s Flat: The movie was primarily shot on set in Australia; feels, and we don’t understand where the filmmaker comes from. Remember Elvis’ ties to the black community? Give social or political meaning to life itself?

However, his film’s biggest flaws lie elsewhere. In the mannerism of its production that endlessly swirls, in its frenetic montage, to provoke an epileptic seizure, in the abuse of split-screen and the emphasis on soft violins. Everything is in its place to arouse emotion. She never shows up.

Elvis is scheduled to hit theaters on June 24 in North America.

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