Elvis: The Early Years

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Elvis, his roots and his route to stardom


Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was Emmy nominated for his title role in this made-for-TV biopic, and it’s not difficult to see why. Despite a complete lack of physical resemblance to The King, good-looking though he certainly is, he succeeds in finding the character behind the caricature, showing us a young man who is passionate about his music and devoted to his dear old mum, but also tracing his evolution into the prescription-drug addled, disconnected loner Elvis tragically became.

Randy Quaid stands out as the Colonel among uniformly good performances, but the script doesn’t always serve them well, resorting to clumsy exposition and simply telegraphed motivations. And there are eerie similarities to both Ray and Walk The Line here — did every major musical innovator of the 20th century have a drug problem and a brother who died in childhood? Apparently so.

The script occasionally lets down the superb performances but this is decent Made-for-Tv stuff.