This would appear to be the kind of goofy, sometimes-entertaining mess you end up with when you start with a curious historical footnote, but not necessarily a clear sense of what it’s about. The footnote in question is the real-life December 1970 Oval Office meeting between President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey) and Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon), spurred by Elvis’ desire to obtain a federal badge. Director Liza Johnson—working from a script by Joey & Hanala Sagal and Cary Elwes—explores it from a variety of directions, including Elvis’ friendship with Jerry Schilling (Alex Pettyfer), and the Nixon aides trying to convince the president that the meeting is a good idea. But every time the narrative stumbles on a potentially interesting idea, like the personal-life burdens on those who serve the famous and powerful, it gets distracted by the next idea. While Shannon and Spacey prove interesting for taking radically different approaches to two of history’s most imitated men—Shannon nails the eccentricity that comes with mega-fame without actually attempting to mimic The King—it’s hard for Elvis & Nixon to come together as anything more than a curious footnote itself.
Director: Liza Johnson
Producer: Holly Wiersma, Cassian Elwes, Cary Elwes, Johnny Mac, David Hansen, Laura Rister, Rob Barnum, Lisa Wolofsky, Ali Jazayeri, Amy Rodrigue, Michael Benaroya, Byron Wetzel, Michael Shannon, Jason Micallef, Kevin Tent and Jerry Schilling
Cast: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Sky Ferreira, Tracy Letts, Tate Donovan, Ashley Benson, Kamal Bolden, Ahna O'Reilly, Ian Hoch, Ritchie Montgomery, Dylan Penn, Danny McCarthy and Jeff Caperton