1992 / Director. Jeff Burr.
In my recent interview with director Jeff Burr, he talked about EDDIE PRESLEY being one of his most personal films and that is very clear when you watch it. He had complete control over it and there is no doubting it's sincerity. EDDIE is down on his luck. He lives in a van and can barely scrape together enough money for coffee. He's got a story to tell but no one to tell it to. He used to be an Elvis impersonator but hasn't graced a stage for many years and so when the opportunity arises for him to perform at a local club, he reflects on his life and pours his heart & soul into his self-conceived comeback.Throughout the course of the film we come to understand Eddie's predicament and lifestyle and follow him from one hardship to another. He's a likeable guy and I found his story compelling. He hasn't got a bad bone in his body and you can't help but feel that he's tormented by something from his past. When his big performance arrives, things don't go as planned and the night becomes a deep, self-reflecting exorcism of suppressed emotions. All of his woes comes to light, bringing the film to an unexpected and heartfelt conclusion. The screenplay was adapted by the film's star, Duane Whitaker, based on his own one-man-show. The final act of the film is one lengthy monologue, which gives you a good sense of what Whitaker's show was like. Whitaker is a familiar face and we've seen him in films like PULP FICTION, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS and FEAST but I cannot recall ever seeing him in such an earnest and sympathetic role before. EDDIE PRESLEY is his masterpiece. The film also showcases Jeff Burr's talent as a director. His name is synonymous with B-movie horror but every now and then he breaks free of that mould and delivers something surprising and significant. I was personally drawn to the first half of the film more, which follows Eddie in his day to day life. I really enjoyed his interactions and thought his character was well fleshed out. The second half of the film is mostly monologue and while it's a fundamental part of his story, it was long and arduous. Nevertheless I was taken aback by EDDIE PRESLEY and will be returning to watch the extended director's cut soon. This is a pleasantly unexpected film.