‘Elvis & Nixon’ really came out of nowhere for me. With actors as big as Michael Shannon playing Elvis Presley and Kevin Spacey playing President Nixon I’m quite surprised I didn’t hear about this film sooner. However seeing a film after only hearing about it a week previous can do wonders as you haven’t been over-saturated by posters, trailers and other relentless promo. I’m a massive Kevin Spacey fan so was excited to see him take to the big screen once more!
I think there is one issue that needs addressed right at the start though, does Michael Shannon really look all that much like Elvis? I don’t think so. I think he’s a little old to play ‘The King’ and his face doesn’t really match that of Mr Presley’s. That aside though the styling department have done a great job at making Shannon look the part as much as possible and despite the lack of likeness to the real man Shannon performs very well and is consistent in his quips and mannerisms. For me it was Spacey that stole the show though, maybe I’m biased being such a huge fan but his performance as President Richard Nixon might just be my favourite of the year so far. Spacey was brilliant as the past President and unlike Shannon had a good likeness to the real life figure. To further cement his performance Spacey was able to nail all of the mannerisms of Nixon and makes for a convincing stand in for the man himself. After watching Spacey take up residency in the Oval Office, aside from ‘House of Cards’, I would love to see a Spacey/Nixon film as all of his scenes were so enjoyable and I was always wanting more of them.
Shannon and Spacey are one of the main reasons that ‘Elvis & Nixon’ is such a good film, the chemistry that the pair have is great and they’re able to carry off the wonderfully funny script with the desired effect. As a result there are many laughs in the film and all of the scenes in the Oval Office are an absolute treat. There is a little more to the film than just our two leads and their larger than life characters though as there is a strong supporting cast too. Alex Pettyfer plays Jerry Schilling, a friend of the King’s. This is the first time I have seen Pettyfer in a good while and whilst at first he maybe seems a little bit out of place he eventually eases into his role. His character has a small side plot which some may feel detracts from the main story but it offers some good scenes between him and Elvis so I didn’t mind so much. Alongside Spacey in the White House we have Evan Peters and Colin Hanks as the right hand men to the President. Both of these guys were great in their roles and offered a lot of humour through their back and forth with Spacey and reactions to the inevitable meeting between Elvis & Nixon. It was refreshing to have a cast strong across the board meaning that, even though it could have, the weight of the whole film didn’t have to rest on just Shannon and Spacey.
So whilst Michael Shannon doesn’t necessarily look all that much like Elvis don’t worry too much about that as his performance makes up for this. Thanks to the great chemistry that he shares with Kevin Spacey who has a brilliant turn as Richard Nixon the film is quite hilarious. With a strong supporting cast too the 86 minutes running time flies by as everyone makes this movie such a good time. I doubt that this film will be seen by that many and if so I could imagine it being one of the years most under seen and under rated pictures.
Rating – 8.5/10
Question: What is your favourite Kevin Spacey performances?
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