Walk the Line - the Movie about Johnny Cash  
Monday, 06 .February, 2006, 22:08 - English Entries, Music, Movies
Johnny Cash at Folsom PrisonLots of things have already been written about this movie. After I saw it yesterday I have read now a lot of statements and critics about it, many of them glorifying, some of them merciless and harsh.

I do not know Johnny Cash too well, but what I know of him I really like and some of his songs I love. Those are simple and straight songs, getting a lot of their magic from his voice. I could write a lot about Johnny Cash and his music. But this entry should be about a movie.

A film cannot be as detailed a biography as a book can be, it has to cut away parts of reality to give those things more space, that should be transported to the audience. This is where director James Mangold had to take some decisions and at least for me he took them well. The movie concentrates on the early years of Cash, it has two major themes in it: the love between J.C. and June Carter (also J.C.) and Johnnys problems that start in early childhood and partly cause his drug addiction. Don't expect more from this.

And don't say "this does not show the whole Johnny Cash" - of course it does not. There are some hundred songs missing, most of his live is not told (the movie ends with the concert at Folsom Prison in the late 60s) and we nearly do not see any scene in which the singer Cash gets glorified into a supernatural being. Yes, there are some scenes like that, especially when he first time sings in the record studio, well - some episodes like that must have happend in his life. In general we are not witnessing the rising of a legend.

The drug addiction is maybe given too much room and has a sort of pathetic taste to it - although I did not think so when watching the movie, I only came across this thought when reading some critics. Nevertheless the addiction was part of Cashs life and it was one that influenced him most likely until his late days. So it is - looking at the person we are talking about here - fair to give this subject room.

What makes this movie more than just the story of a drug addicted hillbilly in love? For a hollywood production there is a strong sense of reality in it, that mostly is transported by the women in the story. Johnnys wife, who blames him and suffers and June Carter, who never even takes a toe away from the ground and gives the great singer a hard but healing time.

Amreican Recordings I was most impressed by the singing performances of the two main actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Letting them sing the original songs and not dubbing that with Cashs and Carters voices was daring, but it works perfectly and makes the whole story more vivid. Both actors do a great job. I always imagined Cash as a man of at least 40, 50 years, never younger. After this movie, my view on him has changed.

It is a good movie, that shows a part of the life and works of Johnny Cash. It does not pretend to tell you the whole story, it does not mystify too obviously, but it entertains you and seems mostly to stick to the truth.

8 out of 10 - close to 9.

-- Picutres in this entry are from http://www.wikipedia.org
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