Film Review – Elvis and Nixon (2016)


Title – Elvis and Nixon (2016)

Director – Liza Johnson (Hateship Loveship)

Cast – Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Sky Ferreira, Tate Donovan, Ashley Benson

Plot – A look at the real life meeting that took place between Elvis Presley (Shannon) and American President Richard Nixon (Spacey) in late 1970 as the USA was experiencing the effects of life after War and the new threats that were emerging.

“Those are the steel claws of a tiger, Mr. President”

Review by Eddie on 02/03/2017

Out of all the people I would’ve ever expected to see play Elvis “The King” Presley I don’t think in my wildest imagination that I would’ve chosen Michael “Nelson Van Alden” Shannon to don the black clothes, stunning sunglasses and expressive side burns in an incarnation of the pop superstar.

It’s an odd choice of main star for an equally odd yet never the less entertaining movie event in Liza Johnson’s Elvis and Nixon, a dramatization of the time the music icon stopped by to say “Hi” to Richard Nixon, eat M and M’s and drink Dr. Pepper.

Shannon is a capable performer and while he never totally convinces in the looks department he certainly isn’t the worst big screen Elvis that we’ve seen and when his eventual meeting with Kevin Spacey’s (hamming it up and having a blast) Richard Nixon finally takes centre stage, the two extremely capable actors chew the scenery together and make the journey well and truly worth taking.

Comprising only a few days in the life and times of these two memorable figures, Johnson’s film is slight in all accounts with the most drama stemming from a donut shop stopover or Elvis getting a rundown from the White House staff on how to behave around the President but there’s an air of folly and joy that embeds Johnson’s film and with supports from the likes Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Evan Peters and Colin Hanks, Elvis and Nixon consistently remains an enjoyable film without ever being a thrilling one but really it exists solely to offer us a glimpse into a snapshot of time that in its day was something of a nation defining event.

If you’re seeking something that is going to shine a light on either of the in depth characters that are Elvis Aaron Presley or Richard Nixon, Elvis and Nixon will leave you rather disappointed but for a fun and unique examination of a tiny portion of their lives and behaviours, this is one of the recent memories oddest and most enjoyable middle of the road experiences, anchored by two great performers enjoying each other’s company.

3 sassy donut shop customers out of 5

2 responses to “Film Review – Elvis and Nixon (2016)

  1. The photograph of Elvis with Nixon is still the most popular one in the White House archives, all these years later. I thought this was a fun movie. Both the leads did a great job, even though they looked nothing like Elvis or Nixon and I am old enough to remember what both those guys looked like. Thanks for a great and very fair review. I probably liked it more than you did, remembering how weird that meeting seemed as a news item, at the time it happened.

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