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 28/09/2008 | mackry
Member since : 19/12/2004
Reviews : 15
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Pro Thrilling performances
Cons The ending can leave you wanting more
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"A haunted man and his music"

I have always been a huge fan of Johnny Cash. Some of my earliest memories are from watching his prison concerts with my dad, so I was delighted to hear that the latest biopic coming out of Hollywood was going to be about the life of the Man in Black. This film was made in 2005 and I knew that the casting would be crucial to pull off a performance worthy of one of the best loved singers to have graced the billboard charts.

Plot -

The movie begins with a young Johnny growing up on an Arkansas farm, and gives us a brief insight into his family and his close relationship with his big brother Jack, and an early interest in music. They grow up listening to the gospel and country from the Carter Family. Little does young Johnny know that the youngest Carter June, is to go on and be such an integral part of his later years. Tragically, Johnny's brother Jack is taken at an early age due to an accident with a table-saw. It is an incident that lives with Johnny for the rest of his life, especially as his father seems to pass his guilt over the affair onto the young shoulders of Johnny. Via a stint in the air force, Johnny manages to set off on a road that eventually leads to the doors of Sun records, Memphis, Tennessee - at a time when the likes of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis were just cutting their teeth. Now married and under contract, he goes off on tour. This is where he meets June for the first time, and the two are instantly drawn to each other, although both are married to others. The road ahead is bumpy for both. Touring takes a big toll on him and he develops an addiction to amphetamines. It is an addiction that sees him serve his own prison sentence, and finally ends his marriage. June is the one to see him through the troubled time with the pills and the booze, and many fan letters from prison inmates around the world, soon inspires Johnny to make an unlikely comeback which sees him perform within the walls of Folsom prison. It is an album that nobody wanted him to make but against the odds the live recording goes on to become one the biggest and best loved albums of all time, and he embarks upon the most successful period of his career, that counters his troubled relationship with his father and an ever growing love for June Carter.

Cast -

Joaquin Phoenix - Johnny Cash
Reese Witherspoon - June Carter
Ginnifer Goodwin - Vivian Cash
Robert Patrick - Ray Cash

Directed by James Mangold (Cop Land, Girl, Interrupted)


Having had reservations on the casting of this feature, calling up Joaquin Phoenix was inspired. He has many similarities to Johnny in the way he was brought and having shared the trauma of losing a brother early on in life. He even has the same cleft lip and bears a striking resemblance. It appears to be a role that he was born to play, and you really believe in his performance from his playful side to his tormented side that takes on a deeply spiritual element. Witherspoon is the real treat as Carter and thoroughly deserving of her best actress oscar. She has never been better and obviously has knack for comedy, having enjoyed her in Legally Blonde. However, in Walk the Line, she lights up the screen and brings a lot of humour to the role. The chemistry between the two leads is fantastic and they give the real life love affair between the Cash and Carter
the credibility it deserves. Both also performed their own renditions of the songs on the soundtrack and both deserve praise for the way they pulled of such accurate impersonations. Robert Patrick is Cash's father, the man you want to hate. He is a stubborn man that doesn't ever give the youngest Cash any credit for his achievements. There are also fun performances Tyler Hilton and Waylon Payne as the young Elvis and
Jerry Lee Lewis respectively.


In summary, I would thoroughly recommend Walk The Line to any lover of music. I think its one of the most accurate and enjoyable music biopics I have yet seen, and even if you are not a fan of Johnny Cash's music itself, there is a lot to love here. The movie is not afraid to show an unloveable side of Cash at his lowest ebb, forgetting about his own family. At the same time it promotes strong messages of family values and that true love will win over.


The 2 disc version is currently on sale at Amazon for £5.98, the same as the 1 disc version.

Rated 12 for use of strong language and drug use

Running time 130 minutes

Disc 1 Extras -

Audio commentary by director James Mangold
Ten deleted scenes
Theatrical trailer

Disc 2 Extras -

Celebrating The Man In Black: The Making of Walk The Line
8 Extended music sequences - here you see unedited versions of all the duets featured within the movie. These can also be found on the movie's soundtrack, which is well worth a listen!
Folsom: Cash and the comeback featurette
Ring Of Fire: The Passion of Johnny and June Featurette - this gives an insight into the recording of Ring of Fire, one of Cash's most recognised songs worldwide, and written for him by June Carter.
Becoming Cash/Becoming Carter Featurette - a fascinating look at the process of picking the right people to play such well known stars.
Cash and his faith Featurette - a look at how religion and faith came to mean so much to Cash when putting his troubled past behind him.

It is well worth getting the second disc. The film only highlights a small bu very important part of Johnny Cash's life, so these extras are beneficial to the discerning fan to find out more.

*this review may also be posted on dooyoo

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Comments on this review

  • kevin121 published 15/04/2009
    Nicely reviewed, although I haven't seen the film yet! Rachael.
  • blackmagicstar4 published 14/04/2009
    Well reviewed- havent seen this yet x
  • majeedkazi published 29/09/2008
    Great Review...
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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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