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 16/04/2007 | octavio.teixeira
Member since : 13/03/2007
Reviews : 28
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Pro Great movie, great story, great cast.
Cons Haven't found one...
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"Well you wonder why I always dress in black..."

Cash & June.

Cash & June.

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash…" is how Cash started his concert at Folsom's High Security prison in 1968 and it's also how this movie starts. A roaring audience of criminals awaits the singer entrance. Joaquin Phoenix is in the backstage, dressed in black, with a guitar on his back…

This is the start of a story about a little boy with a hard life of poverty, hit by the premature death of his brother and by his father's aloofness. His first years quickly pass on the screen, James Mangold, the director has another objective: the moment when Cash meets June Carter, a young singer Cash admires since he was a little boy.

When the recently divorced June meets Cash, he was married and had just released his first album. Rock n' Roll was giving its first steps and nothing could make believe the madness it would become. In the backstage of a concert, June gets stuck on Cash's guitar, one of the comic moments of the movie. In stage, Joaquin repeats for the first time "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash…".

One of the virtues of this movie is to show the first years of modest appearances, in which the musicians used to share their cars to travel around the country spreading their music. You will see Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison, all in the beginning of their careers.

For more than one decade, Cash played his feelings for June, while they share the stage and the songs. Their duets were full of emotion and revealed what in the real life they couldn't assume.

Fame and recognition were going high for Cash, as it was his addiction for pills and alcohol. Joaquin Phoenix was at the right level during these moments, recreating the breakdowns in stage and the tormented look of Cash with a tremendous perfection.

I have to confess my scepticism with Reese Whiterspoon's performance in this movie. After all I only remember her doing romantic comedies and unflavoured characters in movies like "Legally Blond" (2001). But soon I realise my mistake, actually it was exactly on the first moment she comes to scene, with dark brown hair and a southern accent.

Reese achieved to capture the essence of June Carter's personality, with a joking and wise posture, but also with the barrier she always kept between her professional and personal life. Among such talented and frenetic musicians, she always holds the balance. In a scene where Cash & Co., are completely drunk, she accuses him of never be able to "Walk The Line". This expression is the origin of one of the most famous songs Cash wrote and also the title the movie.

Both actors accepted the challenge of singing known songs like "Jackson", "Ring of Fire" or "Walk the Line". They learned how to play the instruments and had singing lessons for six months. All the songs in the movie where performed live by them.

It is an excellent transformation of Joaquin that adapts Cash's style, from the way he use to hold his guitar to the tune of his voice. The performances are fundamental to tell a story of a man that expressed in his lyrics, the pain caused by the apathy of his father, his marriage problems and June's unreachable love.

It wasn't surely easy to compact in 136 minutes two decades of a life full of personal conflicts. Mangold had to choose, and some of his choices weren't probably the best ones, but the final result accomplishes the mission: to tell the world who was Johnny Cash and the woman that help him to get rid of his ghosts…

Johnny Cash and June Carter lived together for more than three decades. June died in 2003, Johnny followed four months later. Now they are immortal by "Walk the Line", a tribute to their love.

© pimentelteixeira2007

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Comments on this review

  • SamRoversNo1 published 24/08/2007
    Brilliant, explains the movie excellently. This movie was pure genius and you have summed it up in a great review.
  • torr published 07/06/2007
    Yeah, I liked it too. Great performances by the two leads, I thought.
  • mightymuffin published 09/05/2007
    I've seen this and enjoyed it a lot - good review 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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