Musical biographies often make the mistake of distorting the facts surrounding their story and relying on the fame of the name to sell tickets, but Elvis avoids this problem thanks to a clever choice involving Tom Hanks’ Colonel Tom Parker. Elvis follows a similar formula of past musical biographies, including two and a half hours of songs and events familiar to fans, but differs in telling the story of Elvis Presley (played by Austin Butler) through the eyes of Colonel Parker. than to focus it around Presley himself. This stylistic choice adds another layer to the film, which masks aspects that would otherwise be perceived as distracting mistakes.
While other musical biographies follow the film’s plot straightforwardly, Elvis is built around Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, reflecting on his involvement in Elvis’ life and career, as well as his claim that he is not responsible for Elvis’ premature death. death. Although the film follows the story of Elvis, it is entirely narrated by Parker, who sometimes paints a completely different picture than what is set out. This aspect of the film adds another layer to the narrative, which helps to go beyond the problems present in other musical biographical films.
For passionate fans of the artist at the center of a musical biopic, the artistic liberties these films take with facts to adapt their story can be distracting at best, and frustrating at worst. Elvis took as many liberties with the subject, from the manipulation of certain facts to the anti-historical placement of events. This could cause controversy among ardent fans of Elvis Presley, but Colonel Parker’s narration helps the film avoid criticism in this regard. Initially, Elvis portrays Colonel Parker as an unreliable narrator, with some scenes representing one story in his narration, and the visuals on the screen telling a different story. Parker’s status as an unreliable narrator helps viewers rationalize historical inaccuracies, avoiding the mistakes of previous musical biographies.
Another problem with the straightforward narration of past musical biographical films is that it inherently has great value for diehard fans of the central figure of the biographical film, since it requires unnatural expositional dialogue for the ordinary moviegoer to understand and connect the events and the character in question. Elvis can avoid this problem thanks to Colonel Parker’s narration. Storytellers can be useful in feature films because they appear at the right moments to provide the necessary information, and Colonel Parker serves the same purpose in Elvis. This adds a fictional element to the film, which allows you to focus on the story, making it accessible to different audiences.
By using Colonel Tom Parker as a narrative device, Elvis can avoid the mistakes made by musical biographical films of the past. His narration provides a fresh twist through the added layer of his revisionist storytelling, thereby contributing to the film’s strong reviews of Elvis and a warm reception from audiences where previous biographical films have been criticized. The success of Elvis and its unconventional approach demonstrate that creative risk taking in a familiar format can be beneficial. Hopefully, this will open the door for various creative approaches to future musical biographical films.