Monday, March 27, 2006

Burning Ring of Talent

A Movie Review

Had it not been for the success last year of Ray (a film to which this movie has many similarities), and the unusual number of 'artie' nominees this year, I believe that James Mangolds Walk The Line would have done pretty well at the Academy Awards. Well I guess it didn't do to shabby at that, producing a well earned Oscar for its lead actress. In fact Reese Witherspoon is so sweet and charming in full southern bell mode as June Carter, you just about want to convert to country music.

This Johnny Cash bio-pic focuses on two important strains in the mans life in addition to the music. First we have the substance abuse problem. While an over-arching fondness for music was able to get Johnny through an apparently abusive childhood, the tragic death of his beloved older brother Jake, and the early years of a lackluster first marriage, he eventually turned to drugs while on tour in the mid-50's. The film shows in highly edited form Johnnys long journey with drugs, and while constantly popping pills seemed to have little effect at first it eventually left him in tatters from which he was lucky to recover. The whole recoup thing is perhaps dealt with over-quickly, but then again we did get more then our fair share of those scenes last year with Ray.

But it is Johnnys even longer courtship with singer June Carter that is the heart of the movie and center of his life. The relationship between these two is one of the more fascinating and engaging true love stores ever put to film. As mentioned before Witherspoon is wonderful as June, but Joaquin Phoneix looks and sounds remarkably like the late Mr. Cash and gives quite a performance. So much truth about the inter-relationship between the two lead characters is communicated in song that Walk The Line qualifies as one the best musicals of the decade (we've seen a slight increase in this genre lately so I'm acutely saying something). Solid all the way through and just right at about 2 hours and 15 minutes, Walk The Line is time well spent.


At 1:21 PM, Blogger Alien Potatoe said...

This review is right on. I found the film surprisingly interesting. Being a little older I found it interesting matching my recollections with the history potrayed on the screen.

However I must take issue with the Dredge report in that i felt no temptation, even slightly, to convert to country music.


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