Stylish Movies: Elvis (2022)

Baz Luhrmann  is a modern day auteur. His films are never less than interesting, they are arresting to look at, filled with bright colours and graphics, over the top characters and incredible use of music, which, when it works (Moulin Rouge) is just awe inspiring, and when it doesn’t so much (The Great Gatsby), you still can’t stop watching anyway. His latest film is his take on the life of Elvis and it is just amazing, already one of the best films of the year, with a star making performance from Austin Butler in the title role, and an almost unrecognisable Tom Hanks playing his hustler, huckster manager Colonel Tom Parker. It is a film that I have been dying to see since viewing the first trailer earlier this year, and it is a dazzling film that certainly does not disappoint, one that will also break your heart in the process.

It is also an incredibly stylish movie, one that is never less than visually arresting, from the early carnival colours, to the later excesses of Las Vegas with its flashing lights and roulette wheels. In between we get Elvis’s technicolour ventures in film, as his mid career is wasted on the alter of Hollywood trash, and then the glorious black, white and red section which was Elvis’s triumphant 1968 television return, when, trim and handsome, and oozing sex in black leather, he got back to basics and put himself right at the top of the music tree again, winning new respect for his more political stance.

Clothes were always important to Elvis, and the same is true in the film. From the early, zoot suit style outfits that were created for him on Memphis’s Beale Street, the home of the black musicians that Elvis had grown up with, to the black leather jumpsuit from the 68 special, and then from those white rhinestone jumpsuits that he wore throughout the mid to late 70s in Las Vegas and Hawaii, as Colonel Tom’s managerial mismanagement stopped him from touring the World, and instead placed him in a never ending cycle of cabaret shows that made the proud star a drug addled parody of himself, and certainly led to his early death at the age of just 42. Throughout all this Elvis never lost the fact that he was the epitome of a star, a consummate showman and performer, and he dressed accordingly.

Elvis is an absolutely stunning movie, one that stays with you long after you leave the cinema. It is a modern day morality tale of a man who destroys the golden goose, and the ending will send tingles down your spine. Absolutely go and see it.

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