Review: ELVIS & NIXON

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

One day, Elvis Presley, also known as “The King of Rock and Roll” was watching television and did not like the news he saw on various channels. He had served in the military and he ponders what he can do to help his country and our society. Considering he has already secured good standing with other law enforcement agents during his travels, why not secure a badge with his title as a “federal agent-at-large” for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Why not? It is just a matter of talking to the Commander in Chief, offering his services to go undercover to help with America’s drug problem.

After all, he has been in movies and many costumes, so he knows just what to do to appear incognito. In late 1970, Elvis (Michael Shannon) decides to write President Nixon (Kevin Spacey) a several page letter to hand deliver. After all, why not just drop in to the White House to share his ideas why they are fresh on his mind? For many individuals who may not know of the real life story now brought to live by director Liza Johnson, based on the screenplay by Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal and Cary Elwes, this is one film not to miss because the performances by Shannon and Spacey are excellent as they portray two larger than life celebrities known around the world. Of course Michael Shannon does not look like Elvis, but once in the theater and watching The King put his plan in gear, you can sit back and enjoy.

Aside from White House documentation, the screenwriters found other source material and created a story about friends Elvis has by his side, Jerry Schilling (Alex Pettyfer) and Sonny (Johnny Knoxville), as well as Nixon staffers, Bud Krogh (Colin Hanks) and Dwight Chapin (Evan Peters). Viewing Krogh and Chapin try to make this into a great public relations opportunity for the prez brings some humor to the whole potential nightmare this could be given the extreme difference between the two personalities.

Resistant at first, Nixon agrees to meet the celebrity in order to appease his daughter Julie, to get an autograph from Elvis for her.

Of note, it is interesting to see how Nixon changes during the time he spent with The King in the Oval Office and later, is shown on the phone with Julie telling her “Perhaps your dad is cooler than you’d like to think.”

The photo Elvis and Nixon take together at the end of their meeting is the National Archives’ most requested image. Could it be Elvis and that jumbo-sized gold belt buckle?

Source: Amazon Studios, Bleecker Street

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