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Movie Review: Walk the Line 2005

walk the line movie

Over the weekends, I watched two movies back to back – one was “The Lost City” starring and directed by Andy Garcia and another was “Walk the Line” starring Joaquin Phoenix. Image source: IMDB

I have heard about Johnny Cash but never bothered to listen to his songs – I guess it is an oldie for me but the movie “Walk the Line” changed my whole perception about the man and the music from the ’60s onwards.

The Plot

Read the details of the plot here

The Storyline

This is a story about the famous singer-songwriter Johnny Cash and how he ascended into the world of music and he struggled with his love life and musical life during the earlier years. It was interesting to note that much of the materials for the movie came from Johnny Cash’s own autobiography.

The Acting

This film was nominated for five Academy Awards which included, not surprisingly Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix) and Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon). Reese Witherspoon won the award. Interestingly for this movie, both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon learned to sing and play musical instruments. Whatever songs we hear in the movie is actually sung by them and it sounds so good.

An interesting trivia from IMDB:-

According to director James Mangold, when Joaquin Phoenix was learning how to sing and play guitar like Johnny Cash in the months following the start of filming, his voice was too high and the band had to learn how to play Cash’s songs in a higher key.

But then just before they started filming, Joaquin’s voice dropped closer to John’s level and the band had to re-learn the songs in their original key.

Joaquin Phoenix also excelled in other parts of the acting and improvised certain scenes namely:-

The scene where Johnny Cash pulls the sink off the wall was not scripted. Joaquin Phoenix actually pulled it off the wall.

A very plus point for the movie is certainly the strong portrayal of characters and good acting skills

The Music

What is a movie about a legend in music without the music itself? The movie, Walk the Line, have some of Johnny Cash’s early hits sang by Joaquin Phoenix himself. Listening to the songs, I thought at first Joaquin Phoenix was just lip singing to the original songs but further checking indicates that he is singing using his own voice and his own music.

One of the first songs to be heard in the movie – “Folsom Prison Blues” comes in after the record owner says to Johnny that he had heard many songs “just like that, just l like how you sing it” and wanted something really refreshing. Johnny picks up the courage and sings one hell of a song.

Final say

The plus points: strong acting by lead characters and mesmerising music

The negative points: A bit prolonged scenes on Johnny Cash’s drug problem

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