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Walk the line

by Archives November 23, 2005

Two years after his passing, the king of country gets the royal treatment as his life is brought to the big screen. Before they died, Cash and his late wife June Carter handpicked Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon to portray them. Their choice has proven to be right, as the two stars shine their brightest in the latest musical biopic to grace our screens.

Walk the Line brings inevitable comparisons to last year’s Ray. Like Ray Charles, Johnny Cash had a troubled childhood, as his family was also struck by tragedy early on. Searching their sorrows for strength and inspiration, they both went on to become successful in their careers, but lead troubled lives. Tainted with drugs and violence, those lives did not live up to the professional ones.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, Cash died in 2003 from respiratory failure due to diabetes complications, a few months after his wife passed.

Joaquin Phoenix is impressive as Johnny Cash. He underwent six months of intensive training so that he could sing and play the guitar himself in the movie. His singing is practically flawless, and his portrayal of the music legend is nothing less than that.

Reese Witherspoon goes brunette for her brilliant interpretation of June Carter. Just like Phoenix, she indulges in song and dance with a surprising ease. She brings out an unsuspected talent as a woman torn between professional issues and a man she wants to be with in spite of his marriage to a woman he hardly sees and people’s constant judgmental bickering.

Hollywood has already been buzzing with speculation that Walk the Line will land both actors passes to the Academy Awards ceremony. But I don’t think history will repeat itself in seeing another singer’s bopic earn an actor the title of best male performance of the year. However, since Phoenix is possibly even more solid than Jamie Foxx was last year, I guess we’ll just wait and see.

In spite of everything that is good about the movie, a few things will disappoint. At over two hours, the movie has many points where the attention is hardly sustained. To the untrained ear, many of Cash’s songs will sound alike. Taking away some of the movie’s originality, this will leave an unpleasant feeling of d

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