By: Movie Snurb (Three Beers) –
The most requested photograph in the National Archives is the one of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley. There is no transcript of what was said between the two men, the only record of this meeting is this photograph. How did this meeting come about? Who initiated the contact? Why did they meet? Why did Nixon give Elvis a federal badge? Elvis & Nixon was made to answer all of these questions and boasts a great cast, from Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley to Johnny Knoxville as one of Elvis’s best friends and Colin Hanks as Nixon’s Chief of Staff. The film is a rather funny look at the meeting between these two powerful men.
The cast is fantastic in this film. Michael Shannon has such a fun time being eccentric and weird, and I feel wasn’t too off on how Elvis probably was. Kevin Spacey kills it as always as Richard Nixon. He was even able to get down Nixon’s mannerisms, like the way he talks and the way Nixon would sit and stand. Colin Hanks is also able to provide humor in his scenes.
The acting isn’t the only part that sold this film. The costume and makeup design was great. Neither Spacey or Shannon look like the people they were portraying. However, they were able to make Spacey look like Nixon, with the nose and the ears and even his receding and wavy hair. It was a little harder with Shannon as Presley. Shannon has such a distinct face that it’s hard to disguise him. However, they nailed the costumes and all of Presley’s accessories and outfits. Shannon also seems to nail Elvis’s mannerisms as well which definitely helps sell the audience. His wig is rather ridiculous, however; it was kind of like Shannon went to an Elvis look-a-like contest. His wig wasn’t as distracting as Johnny Knoxville, oy vey.
The acting abilities in this film, along with the writing and makeup and costumes help give this film a real feel. They really could’ve gone lazy with a film like this. It’s not like Shannon or Spacey needed this film to make their career; however they both give 100% along with all of the other supporting actors. They also didn’t skimp on the makeup and costumes. And the end of the film they show the real picture in the National Archive and the outfits were pretty exact. It’s nice seeing people putting so much into a film which they know will not win any major awards or break any box office records. However, they still put their heart into making a film which I can appreciate.
Not too far off.
At 80 minutes I felt that the run time was a little short. It feels like I’m watching a TV documentary rather than a feature film.
As funny as the wig on Michael Shannon was; because it did add to the over the top-ness of Elvis, they were highly distracting, Especially Johnny Knoxville’s. It was like having dinner with someone with a horrible toupee and you don’t want to bring attention it. Hint: If that ever happens just stare at their forehead. Then they think you’re looking them in the eye but really you’re staring at that trainwreck.
Even with Elvis & Nixon’s minor missteps there are plenty of jokes that land. Spacey and Shannon nail the roles and its fun watching them have fun with them. This one is definitely worth a shot if you’re on the fence about the film.
Elvis & Nixon (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Elvis talks about guns.
Do a Shot: every time Elvis does something he’s told not to do.
Take a Drink: every time Nixon or Presley mentions their hatred for The Beatles and Hippies.
For that matter, Do a Shot: every time they find something to bond over.
Finish your Drink: to help forget about Knoxville’s wig.