Elvis and the Dangers of Fame

Another biopic that showcases just how lonely and tiring fame can be.

After Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman became huge hits a couple of years ago, Hollywood seems to be all-in on musical biopics. One thing that you’ll notice all these films have in common is that they showcase how these superstars were actually deeply damaged. On a personal level, whether the story is about Freddie Mercury, Elton John, or now Elvis Presley, the dangers of mismanagement, drugs, alcohol abuse, and a tiring lifestyle are always there. 

 

Elvis Presley the Caged Star  

Baz Luhrmann is one of the best visionary directors working today. His films always have a signature flavor to them in regard to cinematography and editing. Pair that with two incredible Oscar-worthy performances by Austin Butler as Presley and the legendary Tom Hanks as the manager Colonel Tom Parker, and you have this strange film that has taken over the world. 

As all biopics do, this film also shows the start of Elvis Presley and his quick rise to fame, all the way to the lowest of the lows. The quick-editing choices feel energetic at first, though they do get a little exhausting by the end of the 159-minute runtime. The movie is obviously long, too long perhaps. Though director Luhrmann stated that a four-hour version of this film also exists, so it could have been even longer supposedly. 

Far from perfect, Elvis does do a good job at presenting the audience with this bigger-than-life figure. Presley was one of the biggest stars in the entire world for quite a few years, and as such, he had no shortage of controversies and big moments. Presley often rightfully gets accused of stealing from black musicians of the time and the movie does address it to some degree. Another good thing the movie does is that it succeeds in telling the current audience why the listeners and those who were lucky to witness Presley live to perform, back then were so obsessed with him. He had not only a great rock-and-roll voice, but his way of performing had a certain charm about it that’s still unmatched to this day. 

Famous and Lonely 

When we see these superstars on stage singing and performing they feel the love of the audience but whose love do they feel in the downtime when they’re not on stage? No wonder the world has seen one big star after another lose their way simply because they couldn’t handle all the pressures of fame. 

It’s difficult to get married and keep a healthy marriage when you’re on the road traveling and working all the time. The work of a musician seems so time-consuming that it’s no wonder they only surround themselves with people who understand the industry. Though unfortunately often those people turn out to be leeches who just want a piece of fame and some money. That also includes managers like Colonel Tom Parker who used and abused Presley all his career until the very end. Exhaustion is a very real thing when you’re performing night after night and giving the audience your all. There will be no happy ending if you don’t take the time to rest and look after your body. 

Losing someone like Presley at the early age of 42 from a heart attack surely served as a warning sign for a lot of other artists. Covering up the loneliness of the profession with an extracurricular activity that harms you is no way to live your life. No matter how much money you have nothing will heal your body more than rest and relaxation. 

Elvis is now streaming on HBO Max where you can witness the two hours and forty minutes of insanity for yourself.

 

 

Photo courtesy of the brand


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