Walk the Line (2005)

Walk the Line (2005)
  • Time: 136 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | Music
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin


Johnny Cash grew up in Arkansas, and served in the Air Force in Germany, where he bought a guitar. He returned from the war and married. Singing and playing with two other men, he cut a record in Memphis. His reputation growing from airplay and live performances, Cash became a star, touring with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and others. On tour, he suffered the effects of drug addiction. He also met June Carter, who would later become his wife. Responding in part to the fan mail he received from prisoners, Cash played a legendary concert for the inmates at Folsom Prison in California.


  • Based on the life of late country music artist Johnny Cash, ‘Walk The Line’ is a fantastic film, that easily ranks amongst the finest biopics to have hit the Silver-Screen. Biopics never seemed better.

    Johnny Cash’s life is hard to display on screen. James Mangold handles the biopic with utmost sincerity. The film never loses it’s grip, it keeps you at the edge of the seat from start to end. Cash was a legendary figure and this is a legendary film in all respects!

    The Soundtrack is a pure genius. One of the finest soundtracks, that take you back in time, and make you groove. The songs are simply rocking! Mangold is at his best over-here. The filmmaker makes an outstanding effort! Cinematography by Phedon Papamichael Jr, is appropriate. Michael McCusker’s editing is good.

    Johnny Cash comes alive on Screen with Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix breaths Johnny Cash. He sings & delivers by becoming the late legend. This is one of THE finest performances of all-times. Reese Witherspoon as Cash’s lady love, June Carter, is remarkable. She sings beautifully as well. Robert Patrick as Cash’s dad is excellent. Ginnifer Goodwin as Viv, leaves a mark. Others are perfect.

    On the whole, A must watch for each and every cinema lover. Two Big Enthusiastic Thumbs Up!

  • “Don’t give me no rules. All I got are rules”

    Before the remake of 3:10 To Yuma (2007), a Western I enjoyed, James Mangold’s previous work was the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, which I enjoyed less but appreciated more. Walk the Line stars Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, a key figure in the tumultuous life led by Cash. Both are nominated for acting Oscars with the latter winning the Best Actress statuette. With a length of slightly more than two hours, Walk the Line has enough time to fill in as much as possible on Cash’s life without being overtly dry and boring.

    As with most biopics, Walk the Line follows almost too obediently to the common trajectory used in such films: the rise of the lead character from a poor or problematic background to the highest rung in the ladder of fame, and then to the lowest depth of despair due to drug abuse, crime or relationship issues, and then to reconciliation and back to the limelight again. But that is because most famous people lead similar lives of alternating highs and lows. Johnny Cash was no exception.

    Cash was raised by an unsupportive father and had an unhappy childhood. He then raised a family of his own which he later abandoned because he met June during a live show and fell in love with her. At the prime of his career, Cash became an abuser of drugs which forced him into a downward spiral. But he was eventually saved by June from the jaws of obscurity. Walk The Line is as much a tribute to the unforgettable music of Cash as his pursuit of June in a relationship that is far from the usual romance.

    Mangold directs Walk the Line with a simple, uncluttered style that is easy on the eye. The music is brilliant and I have to admit to being completely amazed by the performances of Phoenix and Witherspoon. Not only do they mimic almost pitch-perfectly the voices of Cash and June (mind you they did not lip-synch at all), their on-screen chemistry makes for a delightful watch as well. But there is something about the film which bothers me quite a bit: the thick accent used by its lead characters. At times it is hard to decipher their lines without the aid of subtitles. Well, I can only blame myself.

    The best thing about Walk the Line is the sound which is nominated for an Oscar here. The clarity of each musical instrument and the sharp voices of the singer-actors are so well-mixed they give the film a resonant quality that will impress music lovers. Walk the Line is not a great biopic; Cash is not as complex a character as, say, Howard Hughes or Jake LaMotta, thus the film stays mostly in its comfort zone without the need to dwell very deep into its depicted character. The result is less than excellent, but decent enough to warrant a viewing.

    GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)
    More reviews: http://www.filmnomenon2.blogspot.sg/

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