Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Walk The Line

UK Release: 3rd February 2006
Watched on DVD: Thursday 18th April 2013
Rating: 12A
Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Runtime: 2hrs 16mins
IMDb Plot Synopsis: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

My Review: I have extremely fond memories of watching this many years ago when I was about 12. I caught it at random and got utterly enveloped by it and so I’ve been thinking about re-watching it recently to see if it lives up to my memories of it. Thankfully it has held up to the test of time as I found it was still an intense as an experience. 
It’s hard to find any faults with the film, but it is rather long. I suppose it is hard to compress an entire man’s life into a film, but it did drag a little in the first act, as you just wanted to get to Cash’s music and relationship with June Carter. It’s that incredibly fraught relationship, soundtracked to that fantastically heady Cash repertoire which stays with you for days after, that draws me in the most. Cash and Carter meet while on the road and it takes many years before they eventually come together, going through many ups and downs - not to mention their other marriages! All the while it has a great impact on his music and personal life, including his struggles with alcohol and drugs. 
While it makes for a fascinating story, it wouldn’t have anywhere near as much of an affect on me if it weren’t for Joaquin Phoenix, who has countlessly showed what an underrated actor he is (especially recently in The Master). He completely embodies the role in a way which is extremely rare, meaning that, being the age that I am, I don’t know any other face for Johnny Cash but his - he is Johnny Cash to me. Reese Witherspoon has such brilliant chemistry with him as well as taking on the role of June Carter incredibly well too. 
I just love the entire of experience of this film; it captures the period so well, the soundtrack goes deep into your soul and you are left with such a deep understanding of the characters and a sense of who they were which is so difficult to do in a biography. It’s a must-see for me, whether you like Cash’s music or not. Simply Phoenix’s performance is worth it, trust me.

Score: 9/10

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