Review: Walk the Line

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  November 18, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Movie Reviews 

I can't say that I am huge fan of Johnny Cash or overly familiar with his music. The man is a legend and the new biopic on his life hopes to keep that legend alive.

Walk the Line stars Joaquin Phoenix as the "man in black" and chronicles his life from early childhood through his rise of his music career and his eventual on-going love affair with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon).

The film delves into the childhood of the star with extra attention to the often-troubled relationship between Cash and his father (Robert Patrick). The film also deals a lot with his early touring where he was featured alongside some of rock 'n roll's greatest like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Phoenix is absolutely brilliant in the role and what makes his performance all the more amazing than that of other music biopic actors is that he also sings all his own music. It's like Johnny Cash was projecting through him during some of his performances. Phoenix, I hope, will be remembered for his performance of Johnny Cash like Kurt Russell is for playing Elvis, Gary Busey for playing Buddy Holly, and Dennis Quaid for playing Jerry Lee Lewis.

I was also really impressed with Witherspoon as the feisty, energetic, sexy, and strong June Carter, who seemed to be the foundation that kept Cash going even when they were fighting.

Both leads in this film deserve Oscar nods. I fear that since just last year Jamie Foxx won for Ray, Phoenix may get passed over. I also wonder if Witherspoon could get nominated in the supporting category opposed to the leading category.

Walk the Line is a superior film to Ray because it celebrates the rise, fall, and recovery of Johnny Cash with more vigor and panache. The film also is more solid in its direction than that of Ray.

I really did love Walk the Line and it made me remember a lot of the classic musical biopics which I still love to this day. It has it all. (5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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