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Walk the Line [DVD] (2005)
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Drama following the life of the legendary 'Man in Black', Johnny Cash. The movie begins in 1955, when a tough, skinny guitar-slinger who called himself J.R. Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) walks into the soon-to-be-famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was a moment that would have an indelible effect on American culture. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as deep and black as night, Cash sang blistering songs of heartache and survival that were gutsy, full of real life and unlike anything heard before. That day kicked off the electrifying early career of Johnny Cash. As he pioneered a fiercely original sound that blazed a trail for rock, country, punk, folk and rap stars to come, Cash began a rough-and-tumble journey of personal transformation. In the most volatile period of his life, he evolved from a self-destructive pop star into the iconic 'Man in Black' - facing down his demons, fighting for the love that would save him time and again, and learning how to walk the razor-thin line between destruction and redemption. Reese Witherspoon won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as June Carter, Cash's long-suffering wife.
Charting the life stories of both legendary musician Johnny Cash and singer June Carter, Walk The Line has proven to be among the most popular music biopics of all time. And with good reason.
Spearheaded by two superb performances (which well come to shortly), the films main focus is on Cash himself, from his childhood, early successes, eventual troubles through to the legendary concert of Folsom Prison. His journey also takes in drug problems, the tragedy that haunted him and bumpy relationships with the women in his life. Throughout, of course, theres Cashs enviable body of musical work, which not only helps provide markers for his story, but makes for an excellent soundtrack to the movie as a whole.
As a film, Walk The Line is resolutely formulaic, with a structure thatll be familiar to anyone who regularly watches biopics of this ilk. What really helps this one stand tall though are Joaquin Pheonix and Reese Witherspoon. Pheonix is utterly compelling in the lead role, while Witherspoon is back on the form she displayed back in the days of Election.
James Mangolds direction is fine and uncluttered, and while his film clearly chooses which elements of Cashs life to focus on (theres certainly far more to know than you get in the two and a quarter hours here), it works extremely well as an entry point into the life story of a great musician. Even the casual viewer will get a lot from Walk The Line, and it may even compel them to expand their CD collection off the back of it,--Simon Brew
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Top Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed the songs in the movie a lot; I was especially impressed that Phoenix and Witherspoon did their own singing and playing and made it look so easy. Phoenix's Johnny is a tortured and self-destructive soul, and Witherspoon's June is spunky and smart. They have great romantic chemistry on-screen and their close-ups are intense! The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, especially Robert Patrick as Johnny's mean and unrepentant father. "Walk the Line" is an entertaining bio pic with infectious music and two very likeable stars.
Just watch the extended versions of the songs on Disc 2, particularly Reese in "Juke Box Blues", it seems she has completely forgotten who she is, she is just living June Carter, also the great duet of them singing "Jackson".
Phoenix becomes Johnny Cash, he doesn't act or mimic him, he is him, watching his performance you can actually see a comment made in one of the extras that Cash "was the most haunted man I have ever met".
This is no romantic biopic, it is a gritty slice of real life, the lives of Johnny Cash and June Carter.
The extras on Disc 2 are every bit as good as the film in their different way, and the extended songs stand up as an album on their own. Buy, but make sure you BUY THE TWO DISC VERSION.
We went back again after the first showing. It is a 'love story' but a very real and gritty story.
Joaquin Pheonix is more than believeable playing the complicated man in black, and his renditions of Cash's songs are astounding.
Watching Reese Witherspoon in action as June Carter is a treat, and it's easy to see why she earned her Oscar.
Watch out for a passionate performance by Robert Patrick as Johnny's hard liner father.
Altogether a must see film!
The film is topped and tailed by Johnny Cash's performance at the Folsom Prison in the early part of the 60's. In between these two scenes, we are shown the main story of Cash's childhood upbringing, his reaction when his brother dies in a freak accident, his leaving home to start on a singing career, get in trouble with women relationships and drugs, up to the moment when he meets and falls in love with June Carter who does her painstaking best to get him off the drugs and to clean his act up.
There are some stunning and memorable scenes throughout this beautifully realised film and there are some powerful scenes too like the one where we see Johnny Cash collapse on stage from a drug overdose. I felt that this scene was filmed brilliantly. I also felt that the performances from the two lead actors, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, were career defining performances and they had never been so watchable on screen as they do here.
Joaquin Phoenix gives Johnny Cash a ruggish and rebel look and he makes Cash someone to relate to and gain some sort of inspiration from. Phoenix, on the whole, is completely at one with Cash throughout the entire film. It's the best part I've seen him play on screen. Reese Witherspoon is utterly believable as June Carter and her performance is breathtaking. I think that these two performances were two of the highlights of the film calendar last year.Read more ›
The opening sequence is wonderful, and will make you realize that you weren`t wrong in choosing to watch “Walk the line”. That feeling is likely to be specially strong if, like me, you don´t really know a lot about Johnny Cash, and just want to watch a good and entertaining film. Notwithstanding that, you will also end up learning quite a few things about one of the most important American musicians of all time, and about a period in which many conventions were being broken by new artists.
This film tells the spectator about Johnny Cash´s childhood and his bad relationship with his father (played by Robert Patrick), his time in the Air Force, and the beginnings of his music career, when he met people like Jerry Lee Lewis (Waylon Malloy Payne), Elvis (Tyler Hilton), and the love of his life, singer June Carter. There was a big problem though: Cash was already married to another woman, Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin), something that June didn´t forget, and repeated to Johnny every time she rejected his attempts to go beyond a friendship.
The scenes where Johnny struggles with his addiction to drugs and with depression are quite difficult to watch, probably due to the fact that Joaquin Phoenix delivers a splendid performance. Reese Witherspoon is also outstandingly good as June, the person that saves Johnny Cash from himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Considering his true life, this film seem to "pull the punches". It lacked the high drama I expected.Published 1 month ago by Dr. Michael J. Atkins