It’s got to be the strangest meeting ever to happen at the White House: in December 1970 President Richard Nixon invited Elvis Presley over for Dr Peppers.
A sharper movie would have pushed this bizarre incident psychologically, revealing the pair’s shared sense of paranoia. The King, worried about drugged-out hippies not liking him, wanted to become an undercover FBI agent. Nixon, worried about lawless hippies not liking him, wondered if some of Elvis’s fading cool might rub off on him. Breezy, comic and disposable, ‘Elvis & Nixon’ is not that film.
But there’s fascination in watching the always-intense Michael Shannon burrow into Elvis’s inner character – he plays the singer like a bored icon who’s outlived his usefulness. Kevin Spacey’s Nixon is a variation on his devious Frank Underwood – not in itself a bad thing.