• Guy Jeffries

Elvis & Nixon Review


Director: Liza Johnson.

Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Tate Donovan.

Now I realise the gravity of the question 'Elvis or Beatles?', never actually knowing the disapproval Elvis had of the British foursome.

Liza Johnson those work I'm not familiar with, namely Return (2011) and Hateship Loveship (2013) directs a screenplay written by small-part actor Joey Sagal (Not Another Celebrity Movie, The Chase, Return of The Swamp Thing) his ex-wife award-winning writer, comedian and YouTube entrepreneur Hanala Sagal (assuming they were still married at the time of writing the screenplay) and also, Actor, Princess Bride's Cary Elwes, who originally was going to make this his directorial debut.

It's based on the true story of Elvis Presley, The King, the most famous entertainer of all time seeking an audience with the most powerful man of the free world, President Richard Nixon back in 1970. Apparently Elvis requesting to be an undercover agent-at-large in particular for the DEA, in the hope to combat the nation's drug addiction issue, especially with the youth of American. Sounds a little silly right?

Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, Man of Steel) plays The King incredibly well with comical effect. The mannerisms, movements and accent is brilliant however he doesn't look much like Elvis, but that honestly doesn't matter and the costume design is highly accurate. Spacey, being a great impersonator of many famous Americans, Nixon is certainly being one of them, his abrasive attitude and demeanour, again to comical effect.

Alex Pettyfer (I am Number Four, Beastly) plays Elvis' trusted friend and sort-of-manager Jerry Schilling showing us a more personal Elvis and how he dealt with friendship. Johnny Knoxville plays Sonny West, who, I don't think was necessary for the film apart from maybe accuracy, as both of them being members of Elvis' 'Memphis Mafia'

Tom Hanks' son Colin plays an official part of Egil Krogh who helped orchestrated the meeting between the two and actually wrote a book titled 'The Day Elvis Met Nixon'. X-Men's Quicksilver, Evan Peters plays Deputy Assistant Dwight Chapin, who looks totally different and the pair of them together provide quite the comedy, unexpected for this film. In fact, the film is surprisingly funny and not in the silly funny way.

It's superb scripted and cleverly put together, especially the bouncing scenes of each party setting ground rules of the meeting and then the actual eventual meeting itself. Ed Shearmur does a suitable score but the actually music that accompanies the film is surprisingly from other artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sam & Dave and Otis Redding, no Elvis tracks here.

It's a great film, and not exactly being a fan of Elvis it was actually highly interesting to learn quite a bit about the man behind The King. This is likely to be one of those films to be unfortunately overlooked, finding more success on the streaming services and whilst not necessarily cinema worthy being a drama it's still an amazing watch.

Running Time: 9

The Cast: 9

Performance: 9

Direction: 8

Story: 8

Script: 9

Creativity: 8

Soundtrack: 6

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for the performances, especially Shannon's and Spacey's.

86% 9/10

#LizaJohnson #MichaelShannon #KevinSpacey #AlexPettyfer #JohnnyKnoxville #ColinHanks #EvanPeters #EdShearmur #JoeySagal #HanalaSagal #CaryElwes #SkyFerreira #TateDonovan