Director: James Mangold
Featuring: Joaquín Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin
Genre: Biography, Music, Drama
Age Rating: 12A
Running Time: 136 Minutes
Johnny Cash, one of the greatest and most influential musicians to grace the 20th Century, is remarkably portrayed in James Mangold’s ‘Walk the Line’ by Joaquín Phoenix (Gladiator, Inherent Vice).
Supported by a stellar performance from Reese Witherspoon, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2006 for her portrayal of country start June Carter, Johnny Cash’s second and last wife.
The film follows suit of any great biopic, showing us the troubled childhood of the country and rock superstar, with a neglectful father being the main drive behind his escape from home. We are introduced to his love for music from a young age and his desire to become a famous singer throughout his teens and his service in the Navy.
We meet his first love Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin) early in the film, and in doing so, we are introduced to his second biggest passion in life, love. Eventually we experience his true passion; his music, the tour and the buzz of the crowd he performs for. It is something that comes second to none, at least that is what we initially think! He then meets June Carter, and his whole world is turned upside down, for better and for worse.
I want this to be a non-spoiler review, so I will leave the film synopsis there! What I can say, however, is that this film is up there with Ray (2004). Personally, it is not better, but it is a very close competitor.
Joaquín Phoenix captures Johnny’s disturbed and troubled side, his committed and romantic side and also his horrible and brutal side perfectly. His vocal and performing display is also impressive, replicating Cash’s mannerisms and attitude on-stage exquisitely.
It is a 136 minute feature with a terrific cast and outstanding music editing, but most importantly it is an emotional journey which allows the audience to be as close to the success and drama of Cash’s career as one could ask for.
Recommendation: Definitely worth a watch! If you’re a biopic collector, make sure you add it to the collection!