Delving into the alternative later years of Elvis and Priscilla Prestley’s tumultuous marriage, we review the new film ‘Mickey Reese’s Alien’.
A superstar that was beloved by millions and who is still missed by a million more, Elvis has been the subject for numerous movies, including last year’s Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey starrer Elvis & Nixon. Now, thanks to writer/director Mickey Reese, we get an Elvis-based film unlike any of those that has come before it.
Taking a snapshot of an alternative version of Elvis’ later life and his marriage to Priscilla, Mickey Reese’s Alien is a rather weird yet strangely fascinating movie with some very good performances from its cast, especially those of Jacob Snovel and Cate Jones the aforementioned lead roles. Snovel plays Elvis as a bizarre character who is battling some inner demons whilst looking out for his big comeback, whilst Jones is excellent as the tormented and rather distant Priscilla.
Shown (for the most part) in black and white, the movie, which has a runtime around the seventy minute mark, is off-beat and often experimental in its presentation. Many parts reminded me a little of Wes Anderson in the way they played out, especially in a scene in which Elvis has a conversation with himself in a bath. It’s strange but well done.
Reece shows Elvis as a damaged and fragile celebrity who feels the need to sleep with a handgun and to mentally torment his wife. In one scene, The Presley’s invite Welsh crooner Tom Jones and his wife Linda over for dinner, all seems like it is going well until Presley feels the need to embarrass Priscilla with an over-the-top tantrum.
Whilst the film obviously had a small budget, Reece and company did really well with what they had at their disposal. To get the feel of the seventies, the film uses clothes and cars from that era well. Priscilla’s wardrobe was on the money. I did feel that some of the shots were a little overexposed in parts, but the black and white setting works and so does the use of a colour music video towards the end of the film. Technically, Mickey Reece’s Alien is well made. The unusual cinematography is done well and fits, the acting is good, as is the sound design and editing. Whilst some scenes are very dialogue-heavy and could have done with a little chopping down, the screenplay is great.
We enjoyed Mickey Reece’s Alien. It’s different yet enthralling. Weird yet alluring, but most of all it’s watchable. Now, to take a page out of Elvis’ book, we too feel the need to answer the telephone with “This is the king!”.