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Elvis and Nixon review: All shook up by duo's jousting

By Damon Smith

Published 01/07/2016

Verbal duel: Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon in Elvis & Nixon
Verbal duel: Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon in Elvis & Nixon

The film opens in the confines of Graceland where Elvis (Michael Shannon) is horrified by the anarchy he sees unfolding on his TV. Determined to halt his country's descent into depravity, Elvis compels his good friend Jerry Schilling (Alex Pettyfer) to join him on a madcap odyssey to Washington DC. Sonny West (Johnny Knoxville), joins the party and the trio are granted admission to the White House by Harry Robbins Haldeman (Tate Donovan).

Special adviser Egil Krogh (Colin Hanks) and the President's deputy assistant, Dwight Chapin (Evan Peters), carefully stage-manage proceedings with Nixon (Kevin Spacey). The President's disdain for the singer's letter is evident. "I wrote it on the plane," confesses Elvis. "I could tell," retorts Nixon dryly. This frostiness melts as the President discovers his visitor empathises about the insidious influence of the media and shares his withering opinion of The Beatles.

Shannon and Spacey relish their on-screen verbal duels and add lustre to a film that might otherwise have been consigned straight to home formats.

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph

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