Updated: Jun 9
Starring Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley and Kevin Spacey as President Richard Nixon.
Currently streaming on Amazon Prime with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 77%.
After recently signing up for Amazon Prime, I was gleefully scrolling through its contents, adding things I've never seen as well as things I'd like to re-watch to my "watch list." It didn't take long for me to stumble across Elvis and Nixon which I rented on Redbox last year. Back then I didn't have my hopes up, but being a fan of Kevin Spacey (before the allegations) and Michael Shannon, who was incredible in the show Boardwalk Empire, I felt that it was worth a watch. And in my opinion, it most certainly is. This is why I chose to watch it for a second time.
Before I get into explaining the plot I'll address the elephant in the room. Yes, I know what you're thinking...Michael Shannon doesn't look anything like Elvis, and you're absolutely right. Michael Shannon is best known for having a stern, stoic attitude while Elvis was known for a beautiful voice, amazing charisma, and the ability to gyrate his hips better than ANYONE. You might be thinking "what a terrible job casting the part" to which I would counter with WHERE IS YOUR IMAGINATION!?! This was a perfect way for Michael Shannon to showcase his incredible range as an actor, and in my opinion he did just that.
Now that we got that out of the way let's dive into the plot. Let me start by informing you that the most requested photograph in the National Archive is the photograph of Elvis Presley shaking hands with President Nixon. This film gives a little more insight into the events leading up to that moment. I'm not sure just how accurate or true it is, but either way it was entertaining. In December of 1970 Elvis was roughly 35 years of age and decided that his country needed him more than ever. He was disgusted by people burning flags and people singing about doing drugs so he figured if he could be a "federal agent at large" and infiltrate these anti-establishment group, he could gain their trust and then BUST'EM. Elvis was in fact a black belt in karate and was in motion pictures, so he considered himself an expert in costume and makeup disguises. Who would suspect Elvis of being an under cover agent, after all?
Elvis decided to write President Nixon a letter, walk right up to the White House, and hand deliver it to the guards. I won't spoil the movie, but if the real meeting with Nixon was anything like the one portrayed in the film, I'm sure it was legendary.
Report Card: 8/10: I give this film a solid 8/10. Great writing, acting, and one helluva story.