Walk the Line Reviews
After a short scene at Folsom Prison, where Johnny Cash examines a buzz saw before his performance, the story begins with Cash's youth in Arkansas, where his brother dies in a working accident with such a buzz saw. His father implies that it was Johnny's fault and says that god had taken the wrong son - a circumstance which Cash never manages to overcome. Cash's feeling of being insufficient will remain the motor of his downfall throughout the movie and this probably also leads to his addiction to pills and alcohol. Finally, Cash manages to get clean with the help of June Carter, with whom he is, although being married to another woman and having children, in love with and to whom he proposes in the end. Towards the end, the buzz saw scene at Folsom Prison is shown again, which closes the circle.
No matter if performing on stage, adoring June Carter or breaking down high on drugs and alcohol, Phoenix manages to convince the audience by providing the viewer with raw emotions and uncompromising credibility. However, Phoenix' magnificent performance as a broken and pitiful man, is only made possible by an equally talented Reese Witherspoon, who manages to create an endlessly charming and lovely June Carter.
As this movie is concerned with the life and career of different musicians, it is not surprising that it is packed with diegetic as well as non-diegetic music. However, Walk the Line cannot be considered only appropriate for fans of 50's and early 60's popular music. With its exiting and tragic plot and Phoenix' and Witherspoon's great acting, this movie will leave every cineaste satisfied.
Another film that comes close to this will be the Joy Division frontman's biopic Control. Watch this because music biopics are rarely this good
Well acted, well balanced, perfectly timed and perfect execution of a biopic. The plot is developed at just the right pace for it not to feel too slow or too rushed. It ends before Johnny's low years in the 70s, where he did parts on television and his creative output was low, much like what happened to Elvis during the same period. Joaquin Phoenix does well in singing quite similarly to Cash. I was never a Johnny Cash fan, but this film exemplifies his iconic influence to bridging the gap between the early rock and roll and country musical genres.
A wonderfully engaging and entertaining biopic. We get to see the Johnny Cash story, warts and all. It does seem to concentrate on his relationship with June Carter too much, but this is necessary, as this relationship shapes his life, to a large extent.
Well told, with solid direction by James Mangold. Is fairly linear in its telling, but there's a vibrancy and energy to it all that keeps it going.
Joaquin Phoenix is fantastic as Johnny Cash, perfectly capturing his mannerisms, especially those on-stage. Similarly, Reese Witherspoon is wonderful as June Carter. The chemistry between them is spot-on. To add to the brilliance of their performances, both actually sang in their roles - no lip-syncing to Cash/Carter recordings - and they absolutely nail it. Phoenix got a Best Actor Oscar nomination and Witherspoon a Best Actress Oscar for their efforts.
Talking of the music, as you would imagine, it is great and captures well the genius that was Johnny Cash.