pinkmonkeybird

...busting up my brains for the words

Monday, December 12, 2005

Walk the line

Late last week I saw the new biopic on Johnny Cash; Walk The Line.

I was pessimistic about this movie. There are more ways to get things wrong in a biographical movie of a great American icon than there are to get right. But my fears were unfounded. This movie rocks. I'm not an expert on Johnny Cash....I'm just a fan of his music. I haven't read the books this movie utilized to tell his story. But I've read a few liner notes from Cash's albums and I've read a few historical accounts. Sure, the movie takes some dramatic liberties with the subject matter...we expect that. But it gets the basics right and it doesn't shrink from the ugly parts of Cash's life.

One of the amazing things about this movie is the performances. I actually came to believe I was watching June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash. The actors really went the distance and got the mannerisms down pat. The artistic design is top notch, too. The feel of the era these people lived in is captured like few others I've seen. T-Bone Burnett is responsible for the soundtrack. He won an various awards for his work on the Coen brothers' movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? And I expect he'll win the Oscar this year for his work here.

The script is good and tight. One of the ways I gauge a script is if I check my watch while a movie is rolling. I didn't care what the time was. Each scene moved the story forward and there are some very nice resonances written therein. Sometimes we talk of a movie's arc. This movie arcs nicely. It doesn't take a genius to predict that Cash's drug abuse will bring us to the low point. This movie is ultimately a love story and a true story, as June saved Johnny through her faith in him.

I'll be watching Walk The Line again someday, as I do most movies I like. If you like Johnny Cash, you'll like this film. I enjoyed it, as did my mother & father, with whom I watched this movie.

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