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Cannes Critics Are All Shook Up Over Baz Luhrmann's Elvis

"Elvis" was just screened at Cannes, and oh boy, do people have thoughts!

The film centers on the titular American icon — Elvis Presley, played by Austin Butler — as he comes of age and becomes the biggest pop star in the world, all while contending with a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Of course, with director Baz Luhrmann taking the reins behind the scenes, audiences should've anticipated that this wouldn't be your average biopic. Luhrmann has made a name for himself for his unique visuals and tonal flair with such previous works as "Romeo + Juliet," "Moulin Rouge!," and 2013's "The Great Gatsby."

Apparently, the latest flick takes those eccentricities and amps them up to 11, with one reviewer writing, "I told someone that Baz Luhrmann's ELVIS interpolates an Elvis song with 'Backstreet's Back' and Britney's 'Toxic' and he looked at me gobsmacked." Those at Cannes seemed to have enjoyed the picture, as Deadline reports the movie was met with a 10-minute standing ovation after it screened, resulting in a Cannes best for this year. As for whether the film's actually good or not, it sounds like it will be a matter of personal preference. 

From 'a nightmare' to 'very good time,' critics are all over the board with Elvis

There's a lot going on with the reviews for "Elvis." David Ehrlich of IndieWire summed his feelings up succinctly on Twitter: "ELVIS is a nightmare." The film doesn't fare much better in his review, as he goes on to elaborate, "['Elvis'] finds so little reason for Presley's life to be the stuff of a Baz Luhrmann movie that the equation ultimately inverts itself, leaving us with an Elvis Presley movie about Baz Luhrmann." 

Of course, other critics were far kinder. Here's the final declaration from Variety's review: "Luhrmann has made a woefully imperfect but at times arresting drama that builds to something moving and true. By the end, the film's melody has been unchained." With these accounts, it would appear the film has flaws, but if you're willing to dig deeper, there's something worth cherishing in the biopic. 

And no matter which side critics fall on, everyone seems to agree that Austin Butler delivers a powerhouse performance as the titular showman. Ella Kemp took to Twitter to write, "ELVIS: that's a whooooole lot of movie and I had a very good time with most of it! Really takes his 'wiggle' seriously and literally (craziest edit ever) but god, Austin Butler sells it." It's definitely a mixed bag, but audiences will have to decide for themselves which camp they belong in when "Elvis" drops in theaters on June 24.