I must admit that i am biased. I truly love Johnny Cash, his music and also this “man in black” thing. So it may be no big wonder I went to see “walk the line” and only a slightly bigger one that I liked it. I mean in this movie Johnny Cash aka. Joaquin Phoenix is even a vegan!
The story is quickly told. Young Johnny Cash grows up in the middle of nowhere with a drinking father and nothing but the radio and mother’s hymn book as friends after his older brother dies by accident much too early. After a time at the Airforce in Germany, getting married to his first love Vivian and little success as a salesman he and his two mates aka. The Tennessee Two get a record contract and start to tour with illustrious names like Jerry Lee Lewis or Elvis Presley. The more successful they get the more problems Johnny gets with amphetamines, alcohol and his family life. He falls in love with singer June Carter who finally manages to save him from his misery. Together they experience his splendid comeback at Folsom Prison and in the end… Hey, I can’t tell you everything!
The movie shows in an excellent way why Johnny Cash is so goddamn credible. He has been through more shit than your average emo songwriter of today will ever be and he’s been more than knee deep. I really don’t care too much if all of this is true and has happened exactly that way. As June and Johnny helped working on the script there will surely be some make up put on and maybe their love story was a little less super romantic but who fucking cares? This movie catches the vibe of the legend and the fact that both, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon sing themselves without original overdubs give it an aura of authenticity.
My favourite scene is the one where the label guy tells Johnny and his pals what kind of songs he is searching for. And I’d take any bet that this is gonna appear as a sample on at least one record quite soon because what he says is so damn true. In case of doubt I’m gonna do that myself…
So for everyone who is just the slightest bit into rock, country, folk or whatever music this is a must see. It’s closer to reality than many rockumentaries. And if you just want a movie with a tragic hero and a complicated love story then you are welcome, too. John R. Cash & June Carter Cash R.I.P.