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Overall Rating
4.29

Awesome45.99%
Worth A Look: 40.88%
Average: 10.95%
Pretty Bad: 0.73%
Total Crap: 1.46%

11 reviews, 71 user ratings


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Walk the Line
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Here Comes The Man In Black"
4 stars

'Walk the Line' is an average drama that solely stands out from the recent crowd of high-profile biopics on account of a pair of stellar performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as they depict the legendary life and times of music superstar Johnny Cash.

Phoenix’s depiction of Cash is every bit as remarkable as expected, though it manages to be a great impression as opposed to a superb personification of the star. He gets the voice, the look, and the attitude down just right, but one cannot manage to shake the notion that this is Phoenix doing a great job impersonating Cash instead Cash himself strolling across the screen. Like David Strathairn as Edward Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck., his performance is certainly worthy of acclaim and recognition, but Phoenix fails to truly embody Cash enough to actually merit an Oscar win.

Equally deserving of praise are the supporting performances, particularly that of Witherspoon as June Carter, as she contributes her best work since 1999’s Election. She brings Carter’s personality to vivid life effortlessly, whether she is entertaining fans or being a constant companion to Cash through thick and thin. Robert Patrick also does an outstanding job portraying Ray Cash, Johnny’s difficult-to-please father. The rest of the cast rarely strikes a false note, specifically Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley and Shooter Jennings as his own father, Waylon Jennings. Furthermore, all the actors sing the tunes themselves, providing commendable covers of the original songs, including “Ring of Fire,” “Get Rhythm,” and “I Walk The Line,” among others.

What carries the film as it progresses is the dynamic between Johnny Cash and June Carter. With his brother, Cash admired Carter as she was a child star, and though she rejects his persistent advances on the road, Carter remains a devoted friend, even when Cash’s lifestyle turns reckless. Though they were each married with children, Cash always wanted to be more than a friend, much to the dismay of his current wife, Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin). The film caps off after he recorded his renowned Folsom County prison performance and as he proposes to Carter yet one more time. Director James Mangold (Identity, Kate & Leopold) co-wrote the screenplay with Gill Dennis from a pair of Cash’s autobiographies, and the rich detail gives the story more authenticity and helps compensate for Mangold’s lackluster effort behind the camera.

The cinematography alternates between mammoth close-ups of the leads and equally shaky shots to convey the frenzy of both success and resentment. Soon after a montage that seems to speed past most of Cash’s rising stardom, the momentum of the first half evaporates as the film heads into highs-and-lows territory, and this is where the frequent comparisons to last year’s Ray become apparent (besides the fact that both had a brother pass away during their rural adolescence). Once more, good music and great acting improve what would otherwise be a typical story.

The strong performances of Witherspoon and Patrick help support Phoenix’s exceptional portrayal, and together, the trio help elevate this by-the-numbers biopic and transform it into something noteworthy. 'Walk the Line' may be singing the same old song, yet the cast still puts all their effort into hitting the right notes and making the best music they possibly can.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12838&reviewer=409
originally posted: 11/18/05 18:03:10
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/27/16 Joanie One of Joaquin Phoenix's best movies. 5 stars
5/16/11 Dr.Lao Well acted but painted-by-the-numbers musician biopic 3 stars
8/01/10 the dork knight Boozy musician is an older than dirt trope. Still, Pheonix is great as adorkable Cash 5 stars
2/21/09 tracy what are the pills that he is taking in the movie? 5 stars
8/27/08 Jeff Wilder Pretty good. Different from Ray in its approach to the story. 4 stars
5/29/08 PAUL SHORTT A STRONGLY ACTED, MUSICALLY VIBRANT, CONVENTIONALLY SATISFYING BIOPIC 4 stars
5/09/08 Karrie Millheim Its a great movie, a real good job of showing them 5 stars
12/27/07 Ionicera typical musician biopic, nothing that special here 3 stars
10/19/07 catherine garcia so real 5 stars
10/18/07 Beau great film! an enjoyable film with great performances 4 stars
3/06/07 Robin Hudspeth Great movie, shows the ugly side as well as the good of this love story. 5 stars
2/23/07 dmitry At best a mediocre TV movie of the week...someone should tell Mr.Phoenix to stop acting 1 stars
2/20/07 Tiffany I loved this movie. Reese witherspoon is good in every movie. 5 stars
11/25/06 Janet I REALLY ENJOYED THE MOVIE IT WAS GREAT JOAQUIN AND REESE DONE A AWESOME JOB 5 stars
11/05/06 kid reese witherspoon was born for this movie. she was excellent. she sang good, she acted good 5 stars
10/06/06 Kara I loved it! 5 stars
8/13/06 cody a very good movie about life johnny cash and june carter, reese witherspoon is awesome 4 stars
8/05/06 jalnaiz good, very motivating 5 stars
7/29/06 Heather Marie worth a try 4 stars
7/28/06 Lizzie not this one 2 stars
7/17/06 JenDenmark Great acting, good story, quite entertaining! 5 stars
5/01/06 Del Other people's lives are more interesting than mine 5 stars
4/28/06 Hilda semen THis movie was stupid!!!!!!!!!! This should never be shown again!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
4/21/06 Becky One of my favorites. Great impersonations on the voices, good character devel. 5 stars
4/19/06 Bill Chubbuck Reese is perfect 5 stars
4/01/06 Rose Marie this is an extrodinary film about a legendary star. I thought it was one of the best films. 5 stars
3/25/06 Lea Anne I ABSOLUTELY loved the movie...had no idea that they were doing their own singing. 5 stars
3/23/06 Annie G Just because a famous singer dies, doesn't automatically mean his life is worthy of a movie 3 stars
3/18/06 Elizabeth Go watch it. Now 5 stars
3/18/06 Hydrogen Amazing. A great movie, worthy of all its praise. 5 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Utter formula...but mixed to perfection. Phoenix and Witherspoon are wonderful. 5 stars
3/15/06 Shannon Robles jouquin pheonix was brilliant, when you are watching the movie you really believe that you 5 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar I liked this one. 4 stars
3/08/06 Carolyn Rathburn Wonderful, loved it, well done 5 stars
3/08/06 James good movie, 2 disc dvd special features are crap worst special edition ever 4 stars
3/08/06 Katie Amazing performances by Reese and Joaquin along with impressive singing. 5 stars
3/07/06 Nobody Good movie, good acting, plenty of Cash songs. What more do you want? 5 stars
3/04/06 Green Gremlin Johnny Cash will always kick ass !!!!! 5 stars
2/25/06 PAG Great movie. One of the best from 2005. 5 stars
2/13/06 alice Great acting ! 5 stars
2/09/06 helen bradley Joaquin Phoenix great, bit slow in parts 4 stars
1/21/06 Kristina Williams That end scene brought tears to my eyes...great flick 5 stars
1/17/06 Jared Wilson With all the stories they could tell, they told the same story as Ray did in 2004. Shame. 3 stars
1/13/06 Rosita It is so natural 5 stars
1/01/06 ALDO Robert Patrick rules. Yeah, formulaic, but much better than Ray,which felt like a TVmovie 4 stars
1/01/06 carol whoa! I grew up with this music, also in my home we listened to leadbelly... this is rural 5 stars
12/25/05 Reese rather see a movie abour a boy named Sue 3 stars
12/24/05 Mike V Formula bio-pic - but extremely well done. 5 stars
12/22/05 tina mateer great,wonderful movie of johnny cash and june! I plain on buying the dvd someday 5 stars
12/18/05 ownerofdajoint Struggling to overcome life's endless battles with brokenness is done well here 5 stars
12/07/05 malcolm great performances, but these musician bio movies are pretty much all the same 4 stars
12/01/05 bobbi What's the point? Is the movie saying that he's a hero for leaving his wife? 3 stars
11/30/05 Sandra Kerbow Wonderful. I will buy it and watch it over and over 5 stars
11/29/05 Suzz great performances make this worth seeing 4 stars
11/29/05 Marilyn Awesom Strong performances loved the music 5 stars
11/28/05 millersxing A weepy introduction to Johnny Cash for the uninitiated. 3 stars
11/27/05 Billie This was awesome. I've already seen it twice and will buy the DVD when it comes out 5 stars
11/26/05 Ahnold Great movie to introduce Cash to younger generation. Strong performances by all. 5 stars
11/26/05 ajay certainly worth a look. 4 stars
11/25/05 Idiot_for_LMP Great Performances as the buzz has been saying. Didn't like the story. Not a Cash fan. 3 stars
11/23/05 bentable Just wow 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Very strong acting. Contrived story. Cash was the man! 4 stars
11/22/05 Taylor Fladgate This movie will stay with you for days. 5 stars
11/22/05 Sasha This movie really moved me, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Oscars better be handed out 5 stars
11/20/05 Joe Smaltz Oscar material all the way 5 stars
11/19/05 Jonathon Holmes nothing more than a retrad of "Ray" 3 stars
11/19/05 Rick Rivera This film honors an amazing talent and a couple that truly completed one another. 5 stars
10/24/05 Reini Urban Mangold learned some tricks, but still is Mangold. Strong Witherspoon indeed 4 stars
10/17/05 caitlin Witherspoon should get a BA nom. 5 stars
10/13/05 Bob Moore performance risks taken with gratifying results 5 stars
9/30/05 walktheline This movie was amazing. I loved Joaquin and especially Reese. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Nov-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Feb-2006

UK
  03-Feb-2006 (12A)

Australia
  02-Feb-2006




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