El Ultimo Elvis (The Last Elvis) 2012
Directed By: Armando Bo
Written By: Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacobone
Starring: John McInerny, Griselda Siciliani, Margarita Lopez
Method Watched: HBO Go
Reviewed By: Adam Griffith
I had featured this trailer in our Tremendous Trailer Trash Tuesday feature at some point last year. I have been fascinated by Elvis and Elvis impersonators for some time. In total I have probably seen at least six or seven different Elvis impersonator performers work their magic. From Big Elvis Peter Vallee in Las Vegas to Elvis Impersonator Ron Short’s Blue Hawaii show in Hawaii the misses and I make it a point to check out Elvis impersonators when we are on vacation. Hell we even had an Elvis Impersonator perform a set at our wedding in Vegas. Needless to say I was intrigued to check out this film from Argentinian director Armando Bo.
Carlos, call me Elvis, Gutierrez works at a factory doing mindless assembly work. His job sucks, but not as much as the trampy whores he picks up on street corners for what passes for companionship in his life. When he is not busy working or ignoring his ex-wife and his daughter, Lisa Marie, he is working on his music. For Carlos, his main calling in life is that of an Elvis Impersonator. However, Carlos does not just think that he is impersonating The King, he thinks he is The King reborn or reincarnated or that he has a gift from god to emulate Elvis. To be honest it was sort of hard to tell what to think as the film is subtitled and it is difficult to discern Carlos’s mental state. Is Carlos obsessed, delusional, bat shit crazy or is he just a bit of a strange character and an Elvis fan?
Elvis, is forced to become the father that he has not been for his daughter, Lisa Maria, after his ex-wife is involved in a car accident. For the first time he develops a positive relationship with his young daughter. She becomes accepting of her fathers Elvis obsession and even starts to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches. All the while when he is helping his daughter he is also hard at work perfecting his performance. It is worth mentioning that actor John McInerny does a very respectable Elvis impersonation (think late stage 1970’s Elvis). This is McInerny’s first role in a film, in real life he moonlights as an Elvis Impersonator and it shows. The songs he performs in the film are actually of good quality.
Eventually our story leads to Carlos taking a trip to Graceland to see the home of the King. It is in this section of the the film that we find out the most about Carlos. Is he really the reincarnated Elvis, or simply a dedicated fan. Will Carlos hit the big time as an Elvis impersonator in the United States? Has the improved relationship with his ex-wife and young daughter altered his perspective on the world? While Graceland would not allow director Bo to actually film at Graceland the house the film does utilize is amazingly close looking to the original. I have been to Graceland, and I could not tell the difference when viewing the film.
This film kept me regaled despite having to read the subtitles throughout the movie. That was mainly because, Carlos “Elvis” Gutierrez is a fascinating character to watch on screen. The film manages to deal with the role of fatherhood and the role of celebrity in our culture, while avoiding coming off as preachy. The emotional roller coaster the film takes you on will keep you guessing about what exactly you are watching right up till the films conclusion. To my knowledge this is also the first Argentinian film that I have watched and I was highly impressed with director/writer Armando Bo. Fans of the music of Elvis or Elvis impersonators will certainly want to give this one a watch. However, there is enough of a quality story here to keep those with little or nothing in the way of an Elvis reference highly entertained. I am giving this film two hunka-hunka burning loves.
Check out John McInerny performing some Elvis Tunes.