If you’re making a movie about a man this loved, you best not miss. I feel that this was on the minds of everyone involved in this masterpiece. Walk the Line is a movie about one of the greatest singers who ever lived, Mr. Johnny Cash. It’s based on two autobiographies authored by the man himself: Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words and Cash: The Autobiography. Directed by James Mangold, who you might know as the guy behind Cop Land, Identity and 3:10 to Yuma, and with a running time of 2 hours and 16 minutes, you might think that this movie would have some pacing issues, but that is not the case. Since the whole movie is based on books that Johnny wrote, you get this special and honest insight into his life and you start realizing that his story is the story of humanity and all of us. Smooth and tight, Walk the Line is a very serious and entertaining homage to Mr. Cash. Compared to other biopics that were released in recent years, this is definitely one of the best.
We follow J. R. Cash from his childhood in Kingsland, Arkansas, through his first efforts to prove that he’s a talented singer to finally his glory days. I don’t want to spoil anything, so just check out the movie and enjoy.
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were really tested here and they came through as we always believed they would. We were already familiar with Joaqins’ intense performances, but Reese was known as being legally blonde and this was the moment she seized with gusto. The movie was never sappy or melodramatic and the relationship between Johnny and June seems so real and honest, avoiding any hints of milking or similar practices. That honest approach really payed off, since they created a movie that will age extremely slowly, exactly because the issues are real, authentic and we all have them, in some extent. His journey includes almost everything that’s either happened, is happening or will happen to you. Starting from being stuck on a dead end job with the fire burning in you for something completely else to love troubles and finally substance abuse and perspective. Those who went for it will identify with his audacity, those who are still undecided will learn something new and even feel more encouraged and those who never went for it can see what could have been…
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick
Fun Stuff: Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon performed all of the songs themselves, without being dubbed. They also learned to play their instruments (guitar and auto-harp, respectively) from scratch. The scene where Johnny Cash pulls the sink off the wall was not scripted. Joaquin Phoenix actually pulled it off the wall.