December 4, 2005

Walk the Line

Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix(Hotel Rawanda, The Village), Reese Witherspoon(Legally Blonde, Bunny Lake is Missing), Shelby Lynne, Shooter Jennings
Directed by: James Mangold(Identity, Girl Interrupted)
Rating: 3.6/4.0

This movie has received a fair share of press leading up to its release, and many of its reviews are using 'Phoenix oscar nomination' as keywords. Hype like that can kill a movie if it fails to live up to the hype that it is given.

Luckily, this wasn't the case for Walk the LIne a look at the early years of Johnny Cash and the progression of his sound from an earnest gospel singer fresh from the Air Force to the freight-train rumbling penitent voice of the Man In Black that he is best remembered. This aspect, more than making 5'8" Joaquin look 6'4", is what impressed me the most. Cash's voice is not one that is easily imitated without sounding satirical. I was certain, hearing Joaquin's lilt in Gladiator, that they would either have some mighty fine dubbing, or doubly fine voice training. I'm kinda glad they went to the latter.

Voice aside, Phoenix assumes the mannerisms of Cash with an ease that left uncanny a speck on the rearview. The way the guitar was held, sang out of the side of his mouth, tucked his chin, and head motions were all well-captured. I'm hoping this performance is a sign of things to come from Phoenix.

Reese Witherspoon, although the next name on everyone's lips, will hopefully start drawing more and more meatier roles thanks to her grand slam as June Carter. I can't find any definate word on whether she did her own singing and I've never heard June Carter, to my knowledge. But maybe Reese's days of the Legally Blonde trilogy are finally never to see the light of day. I also hope to see more and more interesting work from her.

Posted by Jeffrey at December 4, 2005 1:22 AM
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