Judd Apatow presents an emotional two-part in-depth look at the life, career and complex internal struggles of his loving mentor, the influential stand-up comedian and actor Garry Shandling, based on Shandling's personal diaries.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher(2018) is a two part HBO Documentary See more »
An artist like Elvis is, rather than pretending when he goes out on the stage, he's actually pretending when he's home to be normal. And when he goes out on stage at night, that's who he actually is."
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Sometimes it's hard for anyone born after Elvis' death to understand what was so special about him, what the mania was about, especially when we only see his later image repeated all the time. This two-part documentary lovingly follows Elvis' spirit, the essence that made him special, throughout all the stages of his life.
It starts with his roots as a boy who lived in poverty but also immersed in music, into his first success as a raw traveling talent, to his shooting success, his plateau into commercial mediocrity, then his reemergence as a larger than life superstar before his decline. It gives a more critical perspective into the musical elements and the artistic agency that really made his music stand out and influence the industry.
The Searcher is a refreshing change from the sensationalist biographies that just want to focus on his explosive success and zoom in on his weaknesses. At the same time, it does gloss over some of those darker elements - making it a slightly incomplete biography.
I personally didn't enjoy the artistic effect occasionally used of showing Elvis clips in an empty room, dressed as a household of the 50s, 60s or 70s. I suppose they were supposed to have a pensive or nostalgic effect, but to me they would momentarily drain the energy out of what is mostly a lively documentary.
Part one is the better part, especially because it's where Elvis' deep roots and passion in music are explored, whereas part two is a bit of an awkward dance between acknowledging his decline while also trying to remain full of praise. The whole thing could have likely been cut into a single 2-hour film instead of two 1.5-hour pieces.
All told, this is a great film to connect younger audiences with the historic and magical legacy of Elvis Presley, looking past the surface and the gossip to see a special man.
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