LA Film Fest 2012
By Don Simpson | June 23, 2012
Director: Armando Bo
Writers: Armando Bo, Nicolás Giacobone
Starring: John McInerny, Griselda Siciliani, Margarita Lopez, Rocío Rodríguez Presedo, Corina Romero
I went into The Last Elvis knowing that is was about an Argentinean Elvis impersonator, which somehow led me to expect an offbeat musical. Of course, if I knew that Biutiful scribe Armando Bo directed The Last Elvis, I would have been much more prepared for the film’s depressing and hopeless air. In fact, the two films are somewhat similar to each other, as they both follow single, working class fathers who are struggling to make enough money to support their families. In both films, the men must focus on their dehumanizing day jobs as well as the jobs that they are destined to do, rather than parenting. Both men also exist in states of constant conflict with their ex-wives. Despite the obvious love that they have for their children, they are severely flawed parents; thus we learn to love and hate these men. Definitions of masculinity and fatherhood are put through the proverbial wringer. These are not simple men; these are not simple stories.
In the case of The Last Elvis, Carlos (John McInerny) is dealing with custody issues following his divorce. We can only assume that it was Carlos’ tireless dedication to personifying Elvis that caused his wife (Griselda Siciliani) to leave him — or maybe it was because he named his daughter Lisa Marie (Margarita Lopez)? Whenever Carlos is not rehearsing or performing, he is listening to (or watching) recordings of Elvis’ live performances. The tunnel-visioned focus of his career has turned him into an incredibly self-absorbed human being. If I did not know any better, I would think Carlos’ Elvis persona is merely an escape from the mundane reality of his working class existence, not the destined role that he exclaims it to be. Admittedly, Carlos does sound and move a heck of a lot like Elvis — a 40-something Elvis, that is — so it does appear to be the role that he is meant to play. (That is if people truly are born to mimic other people.) So, maybe Carlos is not as delusional as he seems? Well… Carlos’ final, climactic one-way trip to Graceland (Bo could not get the rights to shoot inside of Graceland, but it is a truly remarkable recreation nonetheless) may make you reconsider his sanity or severe lack thereof…