TEARS OF A KING: THE LATTER DAYS OF ELVIS ***
Produced by: Rob Diamond
Written by: Rob Diamond
Starring: Matt Lewis, Erin Chambers, Brian Wimmer
Length: 117 minutes
OREM — This moving film depicts the spiritual side of Elvis Presley at the end of his life and his search for redemption.
The performance by Las Vegas Elvis impersonator Matt Lewis as the King of Rock 'n' Roll searching for the King of Kings, as the promoters say, is outstanding, including his singing of some of Presley's hits. Lewis quickly draws the audience into the story with his believable portrayal of the legendary icon.
Writer and director Rob Diamond paints a picture of a remorseful Presley regretting lifestyle choices that led to the divorcing of his wife, Priscilla, and disassociation with his daughter, Lisa Marie.
The movie, which was screened last week at the 7th Annual LDS Film Festival, also ties in Presley's study of the Book of Mormon. Although the name of the book is never uttered in the film, audiences are given a glimpse of the blue paperback cover just before the emotionally tortured singer dies of a prescription drug overdose. Filmmakers used the actual Book of Mormon
Presley reputedly owned and written in by Elvis. That book is now in the possession of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Diamond uses a series of flashbacks of the singer's life to tell the story and admits to taking license by inserting Presley's conversations with a "mysterious man" who turns out to be the spirit of his twin brother, Jesse, who died at birth. Those conversations examine crossroads in the singer's life.
Diamond also cleverly uses an after-life interview technique between the late television host Ed Sullivan and Presley to tell the story. The filmmaker admits that had a certain amount of cheese attached, but it works in an uncanny way.
He pieced the story together after a year of research, 11 days of shooting (mostly on a sound stage) and a year of editing.
"Tears of a King" is engrossing, based on extensive factfinding and shows a side of Elvis Presley rarely seen.