Written by Films

Walk The Line

Prior to a couple of days ago, what I knew about Johnny Cash could have been written on a very small postage stamp. I knew a couple of his more famous lines, and also knew about his some of his latter sounds when he recorded songs by such artists as Depeche Mode and even Nine Inch Nails with Hurt which I remember Nick Stewart (aka Captain America) once giving a talk about at work.
I was quite excited about going to see Walk The Line because I knew that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were supposed to be good in it, and Cash is someone that I felt I should know a bit about (in the same way that the Dylan documentary from Scorcese also filled in a few holes in my cultural knowledge last year).
The film does follow a typical rock biopic route: a few childhood recollections that impact on later life, the success, the highs, the lows, the depressions. But it works very well and the performances are really good. In actual fact, I think Reese Witherspoon gives an even better performance than Joaquin Phoenix’s.
The film opens with the beginning of a foot-tappingly spectacular prison concert which we return to later in the film. We see fellow young stars from Sun record – Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis.
In fact, the film does bend a few stories and twist a few things to meet a required structure. But then what film doesn’t? How do I know? Well I’ve just watched a BBC Four documentary on the man, and I’m slightly more inclined to believe that than the film.
The singing, by the way, is indeed superb – with both leads taking the honours. I note that both actors have been duly nominated in the Academy Award Nominations (And while we’re on the subject, I’d love someone to explain how Heath Ledger is up for Best Actor, while Jake Gyllenhaal is only up for Best Supporting Actor. I’m pretty sure that if Gyllenhaal’s character had been a woman, she’d have been a Best Actress contender. It’s not a small role).
On the way out of a party that was held after the film (and which in no way prejudice’s this review), I was given a “goody bag” which included the Cash CD that has Hurt on it. I listened to it both on the way in and out of work today, and that’s despite visiting HMV for some other Cash bargains at lunchtime.
Dad’s going to love this film.