Elvis Walks Home
Directed by Fatmir Koci | Review by Antonio RozichBefore writing about the movie specifically, I’d like to give some insight. I come from a country that just loves making war movies, so naturally, I’ve become fed up with them. All that melodrama and pure depression these movies emit transformed into a tiresome watching experience – one after another, they were all the same no matter what side you picked. And here I am now, reviewing a war movie that takes place in the same exact war – the Balkan War.
You can imagine when I read the summary what went through my mind. To put it nicely, I sighed, scratched my messy hair and said to myself: “Ok, let’s just get over with this”. And boy was I surprised when the first 10 minutes went by. I turned from being a skeptic to a “hey, this might actually be good” type of person. Sometimes, being wrong can truly feel good.
Elvis Walks Home by Fatmir Koci is a story of a man who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Imagine escaping a hell-hole in hope of finding a better life just so the same hope brings you back to the same hell-hole – an unlucky turn of events to say the least. The basic summary is set within first few minutes and this provides two things for the viewer. First, it perfectly sets the stage by making everything clear. Second, it brings up an entirely new bag of questions enticing the viewer to stay for more. Because where can a man go when the only thing that surrounds him is everything he tried so hard to escape from?
Throughout the movie we follow Mickey, an Elvis impersonator, running towards that light at the end of the tunnel. More so, he doesn’t see the light, he’s merely hoping there is one and in order to find out the only thing left to do is to run. In this low-stake journey, he encounters people that basically fall in two categories: people he doesn’t want to meet and people he really doesn’t want to meet. When you think about it, it’s not something you’d call a pleasant journey.
It’s interesting how the Koci managed to strike that weird balance between a classic war movie that’s bound to put a weight on your heart and a light comedy. As the story moves one you’re aware the plot takes place in a country immersed in war, but there’s constantly this subtle feeling everything is just a well-told joke. To be clear, this is a good thing as it brings something fresh and something we don’t see all that much. Often it’s one way or the other, rarely it’s a machine that works on both engines and manages to do it quite well.
Most likely, one of the reasons this works are actors. From the children to the UN soldiers – all of them play their role perfectly, allowing the story to breed at full lung capacity. There isn’t a moment where a character seems to be out of place and although there are minor weird moments, overall, all actors do a great job. Dritan Kastrati (Mickey) perfectly plays the role of a man who while trying to get out, can’t help but react to things happening around. His main goal is to save himself, but his experiences mixed with current events create a weird mixture of selfishness and caring for others. At one point you might hate him, then you might love him, but overall, as the story moves on, you do create a bond. And that’s always a positive sign of great storytelling.
To end everything, Elvis Walks Home is a war movie, but it’s not a war movie that’s about guns, bombs & body counts. It’s also not about the people directly impacted by war. It’s a story about a man who managed to get away from war, only to be thrown back in the pit. And why? Because he loves Elvis and his music. Now, if that’s not a great story premise, I don’t know what is.
Antonio Rozich is a seasoned copywriter and the chief editor for Cult Critic – meaning, if you’re a filmmaker you’ll either love or hate him. Besides his usual copywriting, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When all of that is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction filled with philosophy, life and cake metaphors.