Walk The Line (DVD)

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Walk The Line (DVD)

Primarily the story of the love that grew between country stars Johnny Cash and June Carter during the early years of Cash's career, WALK THE LINE is ...

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Review of "Walk The Line (DVD)"

published 09/08/2006 | simond25
Member since : 14/07/2006
Reviews : 18
Members who trust : 4
About me :
Pro Great story, amazing music and real life performances
Cons none
very helpful
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"The Man in Black"

The Man in Black - The Johnny Cash Story. This film is an absolute must see. I am not a huge fan of biographies but my wife insisted on seeing this so I begrudgingly rented this film from a local video store. Wow was I impressed. I don't even like country music (I am into trance!). But the acting performances and the sheer quality of the singing done by Reese Witherspoon (June Carter-Cash) and Joaquin Phoenix ( Johnny Cash is really amazing.

I have watched Ray (see my other review) and can tell you with absolute confidence that Walk the Line is as good as the critics say. I would give this film 6 stars if I could.

The story:

The film begins with Cash as a young boy growing up with his older brother. Early on tragedy strikes when Jack is mortally injured in a sawmill accident and the only thing his father has to say to his younger son is an accusatory, "Where were you?"

Cash then joins the air force straight out of high school happy to be away from his controlling father and the strict discipline imposed on him during his teenage years. While on a tour in Germany Cash buys a used guitar and this is the beginning of his musical career. When Cash returns to the United States he promptly marries his high school sweetheart Vivian (…..) and tries to start a band in Memphis. His band is two local mechanics that play a bit on the side. Cash walks into the recording studio and demands to be heard, Sam Phillips (Sun Records), unimpressed to begin with Phillips warms to Cash once he starts singing his own unique sound. His wife could not see the point of trying to make a living this way and kept badgering him to get a job as a salesman, like his father. Cash was not a good salesman.

Phillips agrees to make a record for him and duly sends him on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis (…..) and June Carter (Reese Witherspoon).

Here his problems begin, being on tour all alone Cash is attracted to Reese Witherspoon and the feeling is mutual. However both are married and this being the deep south it was definitely not the done thing. In 1955-1957 Johnny Cash's career took off. It was also during years that he met June Carter, and started taking speed and drinking excessively. However he was raking in the dough and supporting his family.

His wife had other ideas she did not like him being on tour, she wanted her husband as well as the money.

Some of Cash's early hits sound really good as they are more rock n' Roll style than pure out country. Cash goes on to have enormous success in his career, but this does not make his married life any more joyful. The sexual tension between Cash and June is clear to everyone even his wife, this causes tension at home. While on the road touring he becomes dependent on speed. In the meantime June has become divorced which was seen as a huge scandal in those days because when you married you married for life no matter the consequences.

Also Cash's relationship with his father was never on an even keel, because nothing was ever good enough.

My thoughts:

The acting and singing in this film are superb, they don't seem to put a foot or note wrong. There are also some stirling performances from Cash's dad Robert Patrick ( He played the T1000 in Terminator 2). This is a heartfelt story about 2 people who love each other but are committed to other people. You can really feel Cash's dilemma on the one hand he has a beautiful wife with 2 kids with a lovely house. The perfect family life. On the other hand he has the love of his life June. Joaquin Phoenix really brings Cash's character alive you can feel his pain feel his jubilation when his song I Walk The Line goes to number one in the country charts and goes into the Top 20 in the pop charts. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both did their own vocals. With Joaquin taking 6 months voice and singing coaching.

Reese Witherspoon won an oscar for her parting the this film, she was also approached by a couple of record labels after the film was finished!

I also enjoyed the commentary by the director on the DVD. The DVD has about ten scenes which are worth watching I think some of these should have been included in the film.


Great film, amazing performances. A must see film Joaquin phoenix is an absolute riveting performance.

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Comments on this review

  • jesi published 22/08/2006
    My husband and I watched this at the cinema ~ and it is MUCH more effective on the big screen ~ I think part of the "bond" between June and Johnny was that when he and his brother Jack were young they had listened to a very young June singing on the radio ~ and identified with her. Johnny was always singing hymns from his mother's book, and took it with him when he left home. Also, part of the barrier between Johnny and his first wife was her family having more possessions and his having been so poor! ♥♥ ! ~ ~ .................................................................................................... ~ ♥ ~ jes ~ ♥♥
  • jesi published 21/08/2006
    May I respectfully suggest that you re-watch the beginning? Jack didn't drown ~ his chest was cut ~ he had told his 12 yr old brother who was waiting to go fishing to go ahead without him! ♥♥ ! ~ ~ .................................................................................................... ~ ♥ ~ jes ~ ♥♥
  • mrsmopples published 09/08/2006
    Joaquin Phoenix really portrays the character well but after watching this and realising just what a rat Cash was in his early days has put me right off him. A good film that tells it like it was. x
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Product Information : Walk The Line (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Primarily the story of the love that grew between country stars Johnny Cash and June Carter during the early years of Cash's career, WALK THE LINE is the result of intense collaboration between director James Mangold, co-writer Gill Dennis, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash. Though both Cashes died in 2003, they oversaw the script's development for seven years. Mangold and Cash's insistence that the film's stars would actually sing paid off. Witherspoon's singing (as June) is lovely, and Phoenix's contains the raw energy and soul that defined Cash's sound. Even as a child on a cotton farm in Depression-era Arkansas, Cash shows a strong interest in music, escaping from his no-frills life and strict father (Robert Patrick) through hymns and listening to the radio. When his brother dies in a freak accident, young Johnny feels responsible, and worries that he will never live up to his brother's goodness. The film follows Cash through his first marriage with Vivian Cash (Ginnifer Goodwin) and into the early stages of his touring career alongside such musicians as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, and most importantly, June Carter. As Cash's success grows, so does his relationship with drugs, alcohol, and Carter, putting a strain upon his family life. From his initial audition with Sam Phillips of Sun Records on through his legendary 1968 concert at Folsom Prison, Cash is transformed from a hesitant singer riddled with demons to a man whose uniquely bold style would make music history. WALK THE LINE never attempts to paint a full picture of Cash's prolific career, but instead focuses on the passions that drove his music and on the woman who gave him strength. With magical performances by Witherspoon and Phoenix, a haunting and inspiring American romance is brought beautifully to life.


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