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Walk the Line (2005)

  Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Patrick Carr, Johnny Cash, Gill Dennis, James Mangold
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon
Links: Walk the Line on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book, Buy the Book
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Just a shame they aren't around to see it..." - a review by pearly

I've heard criticisms of this film being that it is not interesting enough to sustain the viewing audience throughout. Personally, I feel that that's a load of hogwash. Firstly, I congratulate the filmmakers on not taking things too far in that balancing act between realism and entertainment. But secondly, I found Walk the Line to be very interesting and emotional for its entirety.

It's the life story of Johnny Cash, put together in consultation with the man himself, prior to his death. Cash's childhood was dominated by his tense relationship with his father, especially following the death of Johnny's older brother and hero. Walk the Line introduces us to Cash in this way, and illustrates how many of the things that went on in his life were in some way related to this hard start to his life.

Walk the Line is this year's Ray (2004); it's a very similar story, told in a similar way. I cannot help but draw comparisons. But this film stands up on its own, and if you're at all interested in Cash's life or career, then you're bound to get something out of it. One of the amazing things about the film is that the vocal performances of the two leads (Joaquin Phoenix playing Johnny, and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash) are done by the actors themselves. This could have ended badly, but both actors manage to put on an amazing show, even illustrating the improvements in their characters voices as time went on. This alone is an amazing accomplishment, and worth the price of admission.

And whilst Johnny is clearly the star of the show, it is Witherspoon as the love of his life that really steals the spotlight. Her performance is absolutely spot on, and only after seeing the film could I understand why she was picking up award after award while Phoenix looked on from the sidelines with nothing. Witherspoon captures the spark of June and the emotion behind her life and struggles with Cash in a gobsmacking way, and it is her which makes a fantastic film into something really special.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 4 Apr 2006

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Reader comments

  1. I thought Joaquin was awesome in this.. really capturing the craziness of Cash's speed psychosis etc. Loved how they placed Cash amongst his peers; Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis et al. Reese was tolerable, but from what I've read she wasn't anywhere near as annoying as June Carter was IRL.

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from m1k3y ( on Wed 05 Apr 2006 14:27 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.00 (1 rating)

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