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Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

2006 Best Actress Oscar: Reese Witherspoon

Walk the Line

A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

Genre: Drama, Musical/Performing Arts and Biopic
Running Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.
Release Date: November 18th, 2005 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

In many ways, this film biography of Johnny Cash is pretty standard. The story of a famous artist who grows up in poverty, finds comfort in his music, overcomes obstacles, deals with addictions to drugs or alcohol, has been told before. Didn’t we see much of this about a year ago in Ray?

But, just like Jamie Foxx astonished everyone with his fantastic performance as Ray Charles, Joaquin Phoenix is equally amazing as Johnny Cash. When he gets on stage, slings his guitar strap over his shoulder, curls his lip and drawls into the microphone, something extraordinary happens. He becomes Johnny Cash. Remarkably, he even does his own singing.

Reese Witherspoon also gives a fine performance as June Carter. Likewise, she does her own singing. But it’s Phoenix’s movie.

It’s as if Phoenix disappears and Cash appears, in some kind of trick special effect. It’s even more amazing in that Phoenix does his own singing. In contrast, Ray Charles’ voice was dubbed in Ray. I don’t mean to diminish Fox’s acclaimed performance. It is to contrast Phoenix’s accomplishment.

There are a couple of nice scenes offstage early in the film: Johnny seeing Sun Studios and meeting Sam Phillips. Johnny talking to June the first time in a diner. I have to confess that I enjoyed the scenes of my home town, Memphis. But, like a good performer, the movie lives for the stage. The rest seems like filler.

A good moment for preachers: When Johnny and his brother are boys, his brother tells Johnny that he wants to be a preacher when he grows up. So he spends a lot of time reading the Bible. “When someone comes to you for help, you’ve got to know what story to tell them!”

Tom Condon, OP

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