Late in 1970 Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) decided that he fancied becoming a covert agent at large for the American government, so he strolled up to the Whitehouse in order to meet up with the current president at the time – Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey). This film speculates as to what that meeting was like as there is no transcript.
Elvis & Nixon is not factual, while the two did meet what the film depicts is not how the meeting went. The film more just pits two larger than life characters and has them interact. Surprisingly though, the film itself is not larger than life at all. It’s a really gentle and quietly amusing ride that I rather enjoyed.
The thing about the castings of Elvis and Nixon is that neither actor really looks anything like the people they are playing – especially Shannon as Elvis. But the magic of these two performances is that you kind of forget that and just relax into watching both of them.
The trouble with the film is that it never really breaks out of third gear – not that it seems to want to – it’s very content in just meandering along at its own pace. I personally found that I wanted it maybe just to step it up slightly.
Overall though Elvis & Nixon is a pleasantly amusing journey through a truly ridiculous real life story – though it takes significant liberties with the facts. It’s not revolutionary but I did have a nice time.