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)"
Now I'm on maternity leave I have more time to write and read so hope to be around a bit more than I have been recently! Thanks for the latest E's :) x
I always loved listening to Johnny Cash when I was growing up. I loved his music from an early age when my Stepdad would have his cd's playing in his study and I would listen through the door!So when I heard they were making a film about him I was thrilled. As much as I loved his music I hadn't taken the time to read about his life etc as I has with others singers I liked. I thought this would be a great insight into his life.
For those of you who don't know who he is, Johnny Cash was primarily categorized as a country singer but his music was much more powerful than that. It came straight from the heart and soul and he became a musical legend. He sang songs about his life, sometimes about gritty stuff - things that people would want to hear aboutThe film begins with Johnny Cash and his band at a prison. Cash is about to go on when something sparks his memory and you are transported back to his childhood. I think flashbacks can sometimes ruin films but this was very clear and left no confusion.
Johnny is clearly very close to his older brother and it is heartbreaking to watch as he witnesses his brother pass away due to injury and his father basically tell him that he wish Johnny had dies not his older brother Jack as Jack was the better son. This event then shapes him and we follow him through the early days of when he was a young man in the army, his first marriage, making that first record and getting success as he toured with the likes of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis.It is during these tours that he crosses paths with and befriends fellow singer and entertainer June Carter. Still married at this point, Johnny starts to fall in love with June but she is also married and doesn't wish to ruin either of their families. However, his relationship with his wife, Vivien, which was never very strong to begin with, begins to go downhill rapidly. He is constantly travelling with his band and begins to take drugs and drinking excessively. Eventually Vivien cannot take any more and throws him out. Johnny's life seems to be going from bad to worse, but then June comes to his rescue.
A biopic film like this can sometimes really depend on the casting but thankfully the casting of Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter was exceptional. A big percentage of the audience watching this film would be familiar with Johnny Cash, even if not knowing a great deal about his life, and would most likely draw comparisons between the real man and Joaquin Phoenix. He is outstanding on screen and very believable as the man in black, rather than being just an impersonation that embodies the sprit of him. He has the attitude, the swagger, the brooding and he gives a knockout performance.Reese Witherspoon won the best actress Oscar for her performance as June Carter and I can understand why. I've liked her in her movies before and she has made me laugh etc but this time there was something different. I don't know a great deal about June Carter so am unable to compare Reese Witherspoon to her as I can with Phoenix and Cash but she brings to the film charm and charisma and you can see why Cash is attracted to her (and not just because she is beautiful) and I felt a great fondness and tenderness towards her.
I love the fact that the pair do all their own musical performances and do not mime a single word. This is what made the film really excel. The songs and music will have you tapping your feet with enthusiasm and I think it would have been a let down if they had simply mimed (or had sang badly) but luckily they were astounding. I closed my eyes and I swear it could have been the really Johnny Cash singing.There may have been things omitted from the film but as I didn't know a great deal about his life to begin with I wouldn't know what these were. Obviously, with all these types of films, they have had to cram someone's life into two hours of screenplay but I felt it ran smoothly and clearly and didn't leave me wondering why thing's happened etc.
All in all I thought this was a truly compelling film with convincing characters and a storyline that sometimes warms your heart and sometimes breaks it. There were a few moments throughout the film that brought a tear to my eye (ok, ok, I was blubbing!!!) but the music was spirited and vivacious and kept me entertained throughout.The only thing I would say is that if you are not a lover of country music then you may not enjoy this film as that is primarily what Johnny Cash is about.
Running Time: 136 minutesThis film has been classified as 12 and think it would be ok for anyone above that age to watch although there is a small reference to drugs.
You can buy this in most dvd shops for about £12.99 but it is also available on Amazon from £5.99 and on Ebay for as little as £4.00.
Product Information : Walk The Line (DVD)
Manufacturer's product descriptionPrimarily 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.
Listed on Ciao since: 18/04/2006