Elvis Gratton: Le king des kings (1985)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Elvis Gratton: Le king des kings</strong> (1985)

(In French, On TV, January 2019) I remember seeing at least a part of Elvis Gratton: Le king des kings as a younger teenager—it was, after all, a shared cultural reference in French-Canada, with a few catchphrases going around middle school. No kid back then cared about the political references that writer/director Pierre Falardeau gracelessly slipped in, making sure to associate its boorish idiotic character with federalism: Everyone remembered Gratton acting like a moron and the slapstick gags and the slangy catchphrases. Watching the film now is a bit different—the political text is intrusive and self-contradictory, while the slapstick is cheap and about as stupid as the character himself. It doesn’t help that the film is a fix-up of three smaller films: the first introducing the character in his full reprehensible sexism, racism, small-minded bigotry; the second one exporting Gratton’s humour to a tropical vacation, while he completely misses the point of a dictatorial regime; and the third one bringing together various gags about winter and Christmas. It ends with Gratton’s death and resurrection, explicitly like Jesus. The episodic nature of the three smaller films is made even worse by the disconnected string of slapstick gags. To be fair, lead actor/writer Julien Poulin created a heck of a character with Elvis Gratton, even though the satirical point of the character was often missed by everyone … as is often the case with outrageous satire. The film does have a few laughs, but I can’t honestly say which ones are nostalgic middle school flashbacks and which ones are genuine—the film does have its share of exasperating moments as well, so any assessment of the film has to be properly mixed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *