Elvis and Nixon
Directed by Liza Johnson
Starring Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Evan Peters, Ashley Benson, Alex Pettyfer
Independent film director Liza Johnson tackles an untold true story in her latest film. In 1970 rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley showed up at the White House requesting a private meeting with President Richard Nixon. Presley wanted to discuss his concern for young people and to privately request a federal agent badge to battle against drug addiction.
Initially Nixon was not interested in receiving the “king of rock”, but his advisers convinced him that it was not a bad idea. It is a documented fact that on December 21, 1970, Nixon received Elvis Presley in the Oval Office of the White House, where a meeting, quite out of protocol, took place.
The characters are well developed in the script and accurately portrayed by actors Michael Shannon, as Elvis, and Kevin Spacey as President Nixon. Shannon looks nothing like Elvis, but he manages to convey brilliantly the reserved and melancholic personality that characterized the singer during those years.
The film is discrete yet interesting, accurate in its emotional depiction, uses carefully thought-out dialogue, is not overly dramatic and is well directed. The contrast between the pragmatism pervading the White House and the romantic idealism of Elvis works, achieving a delicate balance between dramatic and humorous. A worthy minor film.
Juan Orellana is a film reviewer for Aceprensa. Translated by Isabel Cullen
PS — Yes, the meeting happened and the photo of The King with The President is the most requested image in the US National Archives.