Austin Butler gives an unforgettable performance as Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s crazed Elvis, a career-spanning, hyperactive biopic that rarely takes a moment to breathe thanks to Luhrmann’s endearingly frantic but occasionally frustrating directorial style.

The film could’ve been a classic, but it’s marred by a surprisingly strange performance from Tom Hanks, miscast as Elvis’ manager, the infamous Colonel Tom Parker. Luhrmann spends a lot of time on Parker, which is a bad thing, because Hanks doesn’t look or sound anything like Parker. He creates an odd, goofy caricature of the guy, and it simply doesn’t work. He’s a pain in the ass to watch.

The exact opposite can be said about Butler, who nails Presley at every turn; even his singing voice is remarkably true. Butler does almost all of the singing in the film through a splendid re-creation of the Elvis comeback TV special. After that, “older Elvis” songs feature a blend of Butler and Presley. Whether he’s full-on singing, or sharing the vocals with Elvis, Butler is amazing.

As for Butler’s physicality, you simply forget at times that you aren’t watching the real Elvis. From Elvis’ hip-swiveling early days to his windmilling, crazy-suit-wearing 1970s stretch in Vegas, Butler just looks the part.

It’s always a strange thing when a legend like Tom Hanks is the weak link in a film, but such is the case with Elvis. Butler saves the day, and Luhrmann is already talking about a four-hour cut of the movie that could see the light of day somewhere down the road … and in that cut, Elvis meets Nixon. So … this might just be the start of Luhrmann’s Elvis universe.

Elvis is playing at theaters across the valley.