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Elvis/Nixon Film Review

Updated on August 23, 2019

Richard Nixon & Elvis Presley

Film Information

Released: 2016

Running Time: 1 hour 26 mins (approx)

Genre: History, Comedy

Director: Liza Johnson

Producer: Holly Wiersma, Cary Elweis, Cassiah Elweise

Budget: $4 million (approx)

Nominations: 3 (2 wins, 1 nomination)

Spacey & Shannon as Nixon & Presley

Elvis & Richard in the film.
Elvis & Richard in the film. | Source

The main characters

Kevin Spacey
Richard Nixon
Michael Shannon
Elvis Presley
Alex Pettyfer
Jenny Schilling

How two of the most powerful men in the world meet.

The year is 1970 and the date is 21st December. With Christmas just a few days away, something happened that has gone down in history. The king of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, shows up at the gates of the White House asking for an urgent meeting with the 37th President of the United States, President Richard Nixon.

To begin with, Nixon is reluctant to meet Elvis, but eventually agrees to meet him. The reason he wants to meet Nixon is because he wants the Undercover Federal Agent-At-Large badge. Elvis wants to become a Drug Enforcement Agent. Of course, meeting the President of the USA is no easy task. There are people to get through to start with, searches to be done and meetings to arrange. It doesn't matter that you are the most famous entertainer in the world. Jerry Schilling is Elvis' right hand man and had been part of the Memphis Mafia since 1954. He, along with a few other men, accompany Elvis to the White House. There are a few moments, however, when he thinks the meeting will not take place and on a couple of occasions has to deliver bad news to the King when the President initially says no to the meeting.

Of course there is that famous photograph of Nixon and Presley, so we know the meeting took place. But this film depicts the run up to that famous meeting and the reasons behind it.

Elvis and Nixon

My Thoughts

As a fan of Elvis Presley, I was intrigued to see this film. I don't know much about the actor Michael Shannon, who played Elvis. But I do like Kevin Spacey. I think Kevin played a good role as Richard Nixon. He portrayed the President well, and came across on screen as a likeable character. Now, I know that there are thousands of people worldwide that impersonate the King, and it takes very few people to look and sound like Elvis. Although Michael played a good role as the King, I think it's always hard to take on Elvis' little ways of talking and the way he walked and body language. He did, however, play him well and come across well. But I think he took on his mannerisms well.

Elvis was definitely a dominant force to be reckoned with in his circle of friends. They may have thought he was insane to even consider a meeting with the President, but Elvis being Elvis, he wanted this to happen. When he turned up on the lawn with a letter requesting a meeting with the President, people who worked there looked at him like he'd lost the plot. And quite rightly so, anyone would think the same. But this is Elvis Presley for goodness sake, no normal man by all means. Of course, with these being 2 of the most influential and important men on the plant, it does make you wonder how much of the 'real world' we all live in they know. With Elvis having to live in his own cocoon in Graceland, he only knows what he sees on the news. And how he thought he can help with drug law and enforcement is something I find questionable. I don't dispute his intentions were in the right place though.

There are one or two comedic scenes in the film. Before he meets the President, he is being searched and is asked if he has any weapons on him. He replies no, but on being searched they find weapons on him, which of course they have to remove from him. And there is the scene where Elvis is showing Nixon some of his Karate moves. (He loved his Karate.) I found this scene amusing watching Elvis making Nixon slap his hands hard. There are also light hearted moments where, for instance, Elvis is at the airport and the girls go wild when they realise who they are talking to.

Would I recommend this film? Well, I think it's the type of film that will be interesting for those that are interested in this type of film, or is a fan of Elvis. It is a unique and intriguing part of our history. Really, who would show up at The White House asking to see the President? On that note though, it was an enjoyable film to watch and think both Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon played their parts well.

© 2017 Louise Powles


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