i didn’t know much about Johnny Cash before seeing Walk the Line. i was familiar with some of his more famous songs (e.g., Ring of Fire), and had heard a great interview Cash did with terry gross on fresh air a few years before he died. oh yeah, and that he covered a nine inch nails song on his last album. that was about all i knew. pretty sad, given his status and importance as a country singer and music icon of the 20th century. i wanted to see the film to fill in the gaps, and it did a great job.
in a nutshell, i’d say the man in black walked a line, and spent a fair amount of time on the wrong side of it, consumed by addiction and self-destructive behavior. it makes for an interesting story, given the historical import and the impact the characters had on music, and the film told it well. joaquin phoenix and reese witherspoon both turned in fantastic performances, and created a believable depiction of a complex drama between two talented performers. the story wasn’t totally unexpected, and the film didn’t break any moviemaking ground, but it was very entertaining and completely evoked the time period in which it was set. definitely recommended if you have any interest in the man or his music.
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