- TV Mini Series
- 2h 53min
A chronicle of the life of Elvis Presley, from his humble beginnings to his rise to international stardom.A chronicle of the life of Elvis Presley, from his humble beginnings to his rise to international stardom.A chronicle of the life of Elvis Presley, from his humble beginnings to his rise to international stardom.
I'm not an Elvis aficionado, I don't even own any of his albums, but my mom was a big fan. That's what got me interested in this acclaimed miniseries (worthy of its praise), but what hooked me was the subtle Faustian theme which was brilliantly pulled off by Randy Quaid as the mysterious cajun "The Colonel" who is shown to be responsible for Elvis' pyrotechnic rise to stardom as well as, you guessed it, his rude awakening.
What made this a unique telling of the classic myth is that The Colonel is not shown to be a fiendish "devil" out to snare Elvis' soul. Instead, The Colonel is almost emotionless, impartial, a stoic mirror of human ambition without any cartoonish fire & brimstone. Near the beginning of the film he asks Elvis what he wants. And by golly he gives Elvis exactly that, no tricks.
In that sense, there is no villain in this film. Only human nature. It reminds me of the Steinbeck short story "The Pearl" where a poor family finds a valuable pearl, and what you would expect to be a miracle turns out to be far less.
Reading these reviews, I see that fans of Elvis loved it. Jonathan Rhys Meyers did a great job, bore a striking resemblance to The King, and had the lip curl down pat. Elvis is portrayed in a favorable light, despite his flaws, and the music is great. I do think the story could have been a bit grittier, getting more into the drug abuse that eventually killed Elvis. But that was beyond the scope of this family-friendly film which takes up only as far as 1968. There are some strong references to his drug use and accompanying fits of violence. But for the most part, this film centers around his early years and relationship with his family (particularly his kindly mother) and his closest friends. And of course, there's the best part: The Colonel.
This is a great film for any aspiring musicians, or ambitious people of all careers. Especially in this day & age when we are hearing about so many tragic celebrities in the news who got everything they wanted except fulfillment, "Elvis" is timeless. The story of ambition and success applies today just as it did 50 years ago. And I'm reminded of a great line from the Irish movie Kisses, "There is no devil. Just people."
- May 9, 2016