Walk the Line

With all the buzz generated last year by Ray, it's no surprise that the studios would be interested in putting out more movies about music legends. There's always the danger that the followers won't be as good, that they'll be too derivative and too formulaic. It's impossible not to compare Walk the Line to Ray. Not only are they both about famous musicians, but the storylines are surprisingly similar. Both Johnny Cash and Ray Charles came up from humble beginnings, both were tortured by the memory of a lost brother, both struggled with drug addiction. With such similarities, it's a real testament to the actors and filmmakers of Walk the Line that it manages to be an excellent movie in its own right. From an acting and musical standpoint, this film was superb. Joaquin Phoenix has done a lot that I've liked over the years (and one or two that I haven't) and this is some of his finest work. And Juliette said--and I agree--that this is the best acting she's ever seen from Reese Witherspoon. The chemistry between the two of them, the tortured love obvious in the way they look at each other, would be enough to make this a good movie, even without the music, but the music really did put it over the top. I've been interested in Johnny Cash's music for about five or six years now--not that long, I know, but long enough to hear a fair amount of his music. I have to say, even though everything I've heard and read has indicated that Phoenix did all of his own singing, I'm still having trouble believing it, his impression was that good. When I think of how much work must have gone into preparing for this role, I am quite honestly awestruck. The only problems I had with the film were the pacing--it felt a little scattered and slow to me, though not to Juliette--and the fact that I had trouble getting into the love story between Cash and June Carter because I felt so bad for Cash's first wife, Vivian.

Viewed: 11/19/2005 | Released: 11/17/2005 | Score: A

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