Wednesday, May 1, 2013
EL ULTIMO ELVIS (2012)
'member how a lil while ago I wuzz overloading mah mouth wit' mah tail and actin' hotter'n a billy goat in a pepper patch about how films tend to use Elvis impersonators solely for quick, obvious laughs? Well, shut mah mouth cuz it seems even a blind hog finds an acorn ever' now'n agin. And this acorn sounds gooder'n grits.
(I don't know why I'm speaking this way. * clears throat *)
Anyway, yes, I recently became aware of EL ULTIMO ELVIS (US title: THE LAST ELVIS), a film (from Argentina, no less) that may be the answer to my prayers: a film that takes Elvis impersonators seriously and paints a nuanced, complex portrait of an actual character who happens to be an Elvis impersonator.
Here's the plot summary:
"...tells of a divorced singer (played by real life Elvis impersonator (!) John McInerney) who lives as if he were the reincarnation of The King. Forced to care for his daughter (named Lisa Marie, of course), a bond develops, but the dream of being Elvis remains all too powerful in this tale of obsession, delusion and brilliant musical performance."
See what I mean? It doesn't sound like there will be (m)any laughs here. In fact, my initial thought was that the film will not end happily. The reviews I have read suggest that, while this might not be as bleak as I may have first thought, it certainly isn't a piece of whimsy either.
The film is the directorial debut of Armando Bo, who co-wrote BIUTIFUL (with that film's director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu who retains an Associate Producer credit on this flick) and that film wasn't exactly known as a laugh fest.
From an interview with Bo that I found on the internet:
""El Ultimo Elvis" is a movie that immerses the audience in the head of a character that believes he is a reincarnation of Elvis Presley. The movie is a metaphor about lack of personality, about denial, about fanaticism. These are topics that I’m very much interested in, and which I see everywhere, more and more in young people. With the expansion of marketing these idols, icons were created, and they are sold to us as if they were perfect beings, models to be followed, but who actually are ordinary people: imperfect, with insecurities like everybody. In this case, the main character, Carlos or Elvis, has a gift, which is to sing unbelievably well, but since he doesn’t have his own personality chooses to imitate someone else. I think that in some way, we are all somebody’s doubles. What’s interesting is that this man sings just like Elvis, and this is why the line between imitating and being dilutes a little."
Pretentious much? Still, this is exactly the kind of film about an Elvis impersonator that I envisioned many years ago when I entertained the idea of writing a screenplay.
The reviews iI have read point out that the performance of John McInerney is simply fantastic. Needless to say, EL ULTIMO ELVIS just went to the top of my must-see-asap list.
The flick played the festival circuit last year but I don't recall any theatrical release (certainly not in New England). I heard EL ULTIMO ELVIS may be making the rounds on cable now although I haven't yet seen any scheduled viewing times yet.
I am keeping an eye out.
Here are some reviews which should help to get this onto your own must-see list: