Walk The Line

DVD Reviews | Mar 11th, 2006

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Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, James Keach, Cathy Konrad, Robert Patrick
Written By: Gill Dennis, James Mangold
Directed By: James Mangold
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link

I’ve become a huge Johnny Cash fan over the years so I was anxiously waiting to see this movie on DVD. I wanted to see it in the theaters but just couldn’t get time to see it. I’ve heard the praises about the movie, and I can see why a lot of people love this movie. If you are interested in the love story of Johnny Cash & June Carter, than this movie is something you should check out!

Walk The Line is about the troubling early years of the legendary Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) & June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). The movie takes you back to when Johnny was a little boy and had to go through some tragic times with his family. Then later on, he ends up having a really long feud with his father who always liked his brother more. Johnny ends up going in the service, and over there, he always had a crush on June Carter but ended up getting married to someone else and had a few kids with her. Also while over in the War, he picked up a guitar and started writing music. When he’s back living in Memphis with his family, he tries to get a normal job but he just doesn’t have the interest in it. He meets some other musicians and starts a twangy rock band. It’s a slow start at first but once Cash gets the chance to prove himself, he does show he has what it takes and quickly explodes on the music scene. Fame and the music lifestyle takes over Johnny’s life and things start getting chaotic and messy. Later on, he struggles to keep his first marriage going and ends up asking June Carter to marry him but she turns him down ever time. She just got out of a bad divorce and Johnny is pretty messed up with drugs so that doesn’t help things. But in the long run, June stands by Johnny’s side and helps him get out of that bad rut with drug abuse and get back to making some great music.

I love Johnny Cash’s music but didn’t know too much about his life. I knew he was known as a rebel & was legendary but didn’t know why. Some of this movie shows that, but mainly this film is about the relationship & romance between Johnny Cash and June Carter. I think this was a great movie because it showed different sides to Cash, and the support of June was very encouraging. It was definitely a movie where you didn’t think they would ever get together based on the way stuff unfolded in the movie. I feel this movie only brushed on some of Cash’s career. There could be another 3 or 4 movies on Cash and there would be new material in all of it (or so I think). The guy has made so many albums so there’s a lot of story and content with him. I suppose the creators felt this point in his life was the most interesting. Personally, I would have liked to see more about his music but instead that only served as a backdrop to the love story. Don’t get me wrong, I thought this movie was really good and had be sucked in the whole time. I just would have liked to see more about his music that’s all.

I thought the performances were outstanding and I guess the Academy agreed with me since Reese Witherspoon just won the Oscar for her role as June Carter. I think Joaquin Phoenix got jipped because Jamie Foxx won last year for a music bio pic, so you know the Academy wasn’t going to give it to him. I thought he had Johnny Cash’s mannerisms down pat, and he even played the guitar like him too. I thought Joaquin played a drug addict just a little TOO well…hmm…You can just see it in his eyes how much Phoenix put it into this movie. After awhile, you get so wrapped in the story that you don’t think Reese Witherspoon or Joaquin are playing someone. What was great was Phoenix & Witherspoon actually sang the music for the movie and did a fantastic job with it. In the beginning of the movie, Joaquin sounded a bit..rusty, but started to sound better as the movie progressed. It was for the scene when Johnny Cash plays for Sun Records. But I guess he never played “Folsom Prison Blues” with the band before so it was suppose to sound that way. I actually thought Reese Witherspoon did a wonderful job and I usually can’t stand her in movies. I think she also looks better with darker hair. If that was really her singing, than she has a great voice. I thought Joaquin performed “Cocaine Blues” the best out of the songs he sang for. It’s pretty weird to see that Ray & Walk the Line have similar stories but from different people in different genres of music. I think I liked Walk the Line better because I’m not really a Ray Charles fan and enjoyed hearing the music for this movie. As a bio pic, I thought this covered his life pretty well and the story was really interesting. Of course you can’t cover his entire life in a two hour movie but Mangold did a great job.

There are two different DVD versions you can chose from. There’s the bare bones cheaper DVD or you can get the mucho extras Collector’s Edition DVD. I got the bare bones one to review but i’m happy just to get the DVD. This DVD contains commentary with Mangold, and then a bunch of deleted scenes. I watched the deleted scenes and they were actually pretty good. They showed more scenes with Cash’s first wife, him singing and playing “Cry,Cry,Cry” and a great scene where he’s at the radio station and ruins the test record being played. After the movie, watch the extras because they showed more depth to the characters. There’s also a trailer and a promo for the soundtrack. If you like extras, then go out and buy the Collector’s Edition because there aren’t enough on this DVD.

Walk The Line is a great, true love story that seemed like it wasn’t going to ever happen. The performances were fantastic in the movie and if they ended up sucking, I don’t think this movie would have gotten the recognition it got. The story is interesting but I felt there could have been more concerning Cash’s music. Perhaps there can be a sequel to this movie and show Johnny Cash’s life after this part of the film ended. If you are a fan of Cash and his music, this is a movie not to be missed!

Director Commentary by co-writer/director James Mangold
10 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by James Mangold

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Surround
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: Loved all the music related scenes. Like when Johnny performed for Mr. Phillips. Folsom Prison Scenes. The scenes between June Carter & Cash were excellent as well. They had some wonderful chemistry together.
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 135 minutes
Extras Rating:
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