Complete A-Z list

Elvis & Nixon (DQ)


Stars: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Colin Hanks, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Sky Ferreira, Tate Donovan

Director: Liza Johnson

A slight but often amusing anecdote set in 1970, when Elvis Presley (Shannon), his busy film career behind him, decides that drugs are killing the youth of America and that he wants to be a 'federal agent-at-large' and work undercover in the pop world (I know, the very thought is absurd).

At any rate, the badge of office that he needs is something that only US president Richard Nixon (Spacey) can grant him. Undaunted, Elvis enlists his aide Sonny (Knoxville) and his former assistant Jerry (Pettyfer), who's torn between loyalty to his friend and former boss and the necessity to be back in LA to meet his fiancée's (Ferreira) parents.

Presidential assistant Bud Krogh (Hanks) is the man in the middle; he thinks a meeting between 'the King' and the Prez to be a vote-winning idea, but a grumpy Nixon won't play ball...until Jerry contacts his 22-year-old daughter.

At the meeting, Nixon expects Elvis to 'crumble like a sardine', but of course the opposite happens, in chucklesome if sometimes uncomfortable fashion.

The craggy Shannon, of course, looks nothing like the real thing, although he has Presley's voice and clothes down pat. Spacey also looks little like Nixon, but somehow embodies the man in every gesture, down to the stoop of the shoulders.

At once fascinating and forgettable, the film does cast new light on a bizarre and little-known interlude in Nixon's ill-fated reign.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne. Colour (unspecified).
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 19 Jun 2016