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What they're saying about

THE KING

 

“A fascinatingly overstuffed portrait of America in decline. In the process, it’s also: a biography of the 20th century’s most famous musician; a story about how a man became king of a democratic nation; a nuanced analysis of cultural appropriation in a multi-racial society; a southern-fried rock n’ roll performance piece; a horrifyingly sober look at the rise of Donald Trump; a closed-casket funeral service for The American Dream; the best recent film about how the hell we got here; and more. So much more.”

—David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

 

“Whether arguing the degree to which Elvis stole (and profited from) black culture, or contrasting his cushy military service against Muhammed Ali’s refusal to fight, or offering a sympathetic take on how easily the King was ruled, Jarecki paves the last 70 years of American history so that every road leads back to a poor kid with black hair and high cheekbones. The result is the most insightful and comprehensive profile of the icon ever been captured on camera.”

—David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

 

“Forget the MATRIX, it’s the invention of happiness that blinded us to the truth. The rich got richer and the poor help them do it. Jarecki doesn’t argue that the American Dream is dead; he argues that it was never alive in the first place — that we were all lobsters in a pot full of water that was boiling too slowly for any of us to notice.”

—David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

 

“A meditation on the current American crisis . . . The two elements — America and Elvis — come together in ticklish, surprising ways that expand and delight your perceptions.”

—Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

 

“The definition of tasty food for thought.”

—Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

 

“Elvis, after all, may have lost his faith, but the difference between Elvis and America is that we still have time to get ours back.”

—Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

 

“Bold.”

—Steve Pond, THE WRAP

 

“It’s the promise of freedom being choked by capitalism and excess, the poor boy who loses himself in a rich man’s life.”

—Steve Pond, THE WRAP

 

“Smart enough to know when it’s being silly, and bold enough to not care that it tries to do too much.”

—Steve Pond, THE WRAP

 

“Hugely moving and enormously bombastic in a way that is pure Elvis. And it is a fitting way to end a movie that reaches for everything, knowing it can’t really get there but trying anyway.”

—Steve Pond, THE WRAP

 

“Award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki explores the parallels between the rise and fall of Elvis Presley and America itself.”

—Leslie Felperin, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

 

“Director Eugene Jarecki has built a well-deserved reputation for impeccably crafted, scrupulously researched and, above all, concisely argued and structured left-leaning documentaries, among them THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER, WHY WE FIGHT, and THE HOUSE I LIVE IN . . . THE KING may be his most broadly appealing film so far.”

—Leslie Felperin, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

 

“With THE KING using the rise and fall of Elvis to look at the comparable fate of America since his death, framing its thesis through his lyrics is simple: what was once a hunk of burning love is now nothing but a hound dog. Indeed, were his point not so pertinent director Eugene Jarecki could be accused of brandishing a suspicious mind in his latest polemic against the current US societal reality. America is caught in a trap, he posits, and can’t get out.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“Possesses an intellectual hit rate on par with its subject’s musical successes.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“Piercing ideas on fame, power, money and corruption should help it swagger towards an audience beyond its assured future festival berths.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“Not just an effort for Elvis fans and American politics aficionados.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“As Jarecki rolls from Elvis’s birthplace of Tulepo, Mississippi, through Memphis, New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas, many of his passengers show affection to the singer, but the film delves deeper — and film bites harder.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“Deftly flits from biography to impact study to cinematic essay on the boom and bust of happiness-peddling myths, drawing a clear line from the music king to the current US leader. Boasting historical weight and modern-day relevance, it’s an account of a democratic country all-too-eager to embrace its versions of royalty, and an exploration of cultural appropriation.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“An engaging, informative and impassioned journey.”

—Sarah Ward, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

 

“A Rorschach test of a documentary that bombards the viewer with wildly conflicting takes on the meaning of Elvis Presley in American life.”

—Jeremy Smith, BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH.

 

“[A] fine, impassioned documentary.”

—Rory O'Connor, THE FILM STAGE

 

“Elvis as a metaphor for America is a genius of an idea, and that central theme really works.”

—Alissa Wilkinson, VOX