WALK THE LINE
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Joaquin Phoenix plays the legendary Man in Black, Johnny Cash. The film follows the typical style of musician biopics, starting with the man’s humble beginnings, his rise to fame, his struggles with addiction and ultimately finding the woman he loves in June Carter (Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her performance).
WHAT I LIKED
“Walk the Line” is a very capably made film, and for someone like me who first heard of Johnny Cash when he was hosting “The Muppet Show” in the early 80s, this can be very informative on the star’s earlier life. Of course, don’t blame me… I wasn’t even born when the lion’s share of this movie took place.
What made this film work, and what ultimately won it most of its acclaim, were the performances of the actors. Witherspoon was definitely worthy of her Oscar with this film, but let’s not forget Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-nominated performance as Cash himself.
Films like these are nice to watch for the dreamers out there who think that making it in the entertainment industry is all fun and games. Not that everyone who makes it is addicted to pills like Cash was, but admit all the money and accolades, there’s a lot of struggles to be had.
Ultimately, “Walk the Line” is a love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter with plenty of musical diversions.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The one thing that caused me to roll my eyes at “Walk the Line” when it was released five years ago was how similar the plot points were to “Ray,” the Ray Charles biopic. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the filmmakers, but rather the similar journeys that many stars go through in their lives. I can’t say which film was the better movie, though I enjoyed both.
The Blu-ray includes the bonus material from the previous DVD release, including director commentary by James Mangold, ten deleted scenes with commentary by Mangold, extended musical sequences, the theatrical trailer and three futurities: “Folsom, Cash & The Comeback,” “Celebrating the Man in Black: The Making of Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny & June.” The futurities provide some nice historical background to the characters in the film, especially for a young’un like myself who did not experience Johnny Cash’s music in his early career.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Johnny Cash fans and anyone who likes the tortured musician biopic.