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Elvis & Nixon may not do much to expand on its absurdly iconic photographic source material, but it's rarely less than engaging thanks to its talented starring duo.
All Critics (146)
| Top Critics (34)
| Fresh (112)
| Rotten (34)
Elvis & Nixon is a diverting portrait of two great alpha dogs at bay, beginning to feel themselves slide.
The spectacle of Presley visiting Nixon's buttoned-down White House in his jeweled sunglasses, silk scarf, open shirt, and giant gold belt is inherently farcical, but Elvis & Nixon might have delivered more than dumb laughs.
The dialogue sparkles with gems of historical allusion and perceptive asides, and the actors virtually sing it; the film plays like a whirling sociopolitical operetta.
As a surreal slice of history served up nearly half a century later, it feels oddly satisfying: A reminder not just of simpler times, but of all the other wild untold stories we may never know, just because no camera was there to capture them.
What the movie, directed by Liza Johnson, lacks in factual material it replaces with whimsy and quirky humour, helped greatly by the casting of Michael Shannon as Presley and Kevin Spacey as Nixon.
A sharper movie would have pushed this bizarre incident into psychological rawness, revealing a shared sense of paranoia. Breezy, comic and disposable, Elvis & Nixon is not that film.
The film is concerned with the collision of egos, the interplay between two very public figures unsure of how much of their guard or personas they should let down in each other's presence.
The off-hand exploration of two lost souls protected by their fame, rabid backers and influential circles fuels Elvis & Nixon with the anecdotal amusement and perplexity...engaging and roguishly witty
The TV movie awkward silliness of "Elvis & Nixon" makes this second Amazon Studios feature film only to be seen nothing past your Amazon Kindle device.
There is not really enough material to sustain interest over the course of a full length film, but the director and team of scriptwriters make the most of an historic oddity, giving us something which is, at the very least, strange and original.
Everything in between is where Liza Johnson's intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying picture, based on the recollections of a Nixon aide at the time, comes in.
The thinkers and the appreciators of subtlety and irony will be best served making their way towards this savvy little window of American history and humor.
It's hard to say how much of this meeting is actually based on facts, and how much is fantasy. The two historical figures are not exactly portrayed very flatteringly, but is fun to see two acting giants like Spacey and Shannon meet. Their conversation is pretty quirky, just like the entire film, but not exactly laugh-out-loud-funny. That makes for an entertaining tale but not an entirely memorable one.
Even if it doesn't have that much to offer apart from being an amusing curiosity about an iconic moment immortalized in a photograph, the film is super funny and fun to watch, with great dialogue and two priceless performances by Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey.
Quirky and fun, Elvis & Nixon is a lighthearted indie comedy about the surprisingly true story behind one of the most famous photographs in the National Archives. On the eve of Christmas 1970 the King of Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley, makes a surprise visit to the White House hoping to get a meeting with President Richard Nixon; who reluctantly takes the meeting and finds that Elvis is quite different than he had expected. Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey both give excellent performances and do a great job with the dry humor. But the writing's a little weak; as the plot's a bit thin and doesn't go into much depth. And the directing is fairly pedestrian, not really bringing a lot of energy to the film. Yet the strong performances are able to elevate the material and make Elvis & Nixon incredibly interesting and quite entertaining.
Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Tricky Dick elevate the piece far above what it would have been otherwise, though still not quite so high as the satire-laden trailer had implied.
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