Walk the walk
We watched "Walk the Line" yesterday and I must say I was enthralled However, there are two facts that you need to know first – I don’t much care for Joaquin Phoenix as an actor but I do love music from the ’50s and ’60s (for that matter, I love music from the ’70s and ’80s too :p)
So what do the two facts above have anything to do with "Walk the Line"? A whole lot actually Leaving Joaquin Phoenix aside for the moment, as I said before, I love music from the ’50s and ’60s and sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time period because of this love for music from a bygone age (sort of :p). The movie is full of the music of this time period – you get Jerry Lee Lewis, you get Elvis and you get a whole heap of Johnny Cash. So what’s not to like?
As for the main actors, as I mentioned, I haven’t particularly liked Joaquin Phoenix in any of his portrayals before. Not so much due to the actor but due to the roles he’s played. In a way, I guess it is a testament to his acting perhaps – if you don’t like his characters, maybe he played them so well that you were compelled to see the characters for who they were? This argument perhaps might be true of his Commodus in "Gladiator" but I’m not so certain that it holds true for his Merrill Hess in "Signs" :p Be that as may be, he was simply brilliant in "Walk the Line" as far as I was concerned. I loved his acting and his singing (yes, apparently he did all the Johnny Cash vocals in the movie as did Reese Witherspoon for June Carter) was just unbelievable
As for Reese, I kind of dither back and forth about her acting – I was ambivalent about her in "Pleasantville", hated her in "Election" but have liked her in almost everything else that I’ve seen her in since then. But again, like with Joaquin, it was the characters which drove me and in her case, I believe it is the acting which drove the characters to be liked or hated And in "Walk the Line", she portrays a character that I really loved.
In fact, the only thing that I didn’t like about the movie perhaps was the fact that it was so realistic and not sentimental. The movie is supposed to be based on Johnny Cash’s autobiography and if so, Johnny must have been an unforgiving (and accurate) biographer since he seems not to make any excuses for himself. The drugs, the infidelity and the family troubles are laid bare without any excessive blame throwing. In fact, most of the characters in Johnny Cash’s life come out looking good except for he himself. It seems a sign of character but it also makes him seem less than I had come to see him through his music. But then again, the public persona and the private one does not always gel does it?
Essentially, the movie says that he was a good kid who lost his way due to fame and fortune. But he had the good fortune of having friends who helped him through that stage and the courage to get out of the mess he’d gotten himself into. Would I or you fare any better if we had all that attention, money and publicity thrust upon us? That’s what I keep wondering about …