Walk the Line

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon
Directed By: James Mangold
Rated: PG13 for Violence and Lanaugage and Other Evil things like that

Final Grade: <

Box Office Bullet Points: The Movie In A Nutshell

*Joaquin Phoenix does all his own stunts!

*Reese Witherspoon is adorable! I know this because I have eyes and because the girl in the row behind me pointed this out to her boyfriend every 10 seconds

*Soon we will all have to deal with the invasion of the Jonny Cash Posers!

*I think I’ve seen this film before….

Phoenix has found a way to bring the late Johnny cash back to life in his new film “Walk the Line.” Phoenix is outstanding as Cash, he looks the part, and even sounds like the music legend. What makes things even more suprising, Phoenix sings every one of the songs in the film, no lip syncing! Maybe Ashley Simpson could take a lesson or two from Phoenix.

The soundtrack and the powerful performance by Phoenix is what makes this film worth the view! Like last year’s biopic sensation chronicling the life of the late Ray Charles, this film will also reinvent the music of Johhny Cash for a whole new generation.

What I found to be the most annoying thing about this film is that I felt I had seen this film before. Now of course I can’t blame Johnny Cash and Ray Charles for living similar lives, but the film is set during the same era and deals with similar issues. Cas, like Charles, is learning to cope with an childhood accident that took the life of his brother and the pressures of a high profile career leads him into a battle with drugs and depression. His life on the road brings about troubles on the home front as well. The similarities between the two music stars is actually pretty amazing.

While Phoenix and Witherspoon were wonderfully cast, I was sad to see that they made possibly one of the worst casting choices I had ever seen. Director James Mangold chose actor Tyler Hilton, a virtual No body to play a small role as Rock and Roll legend, Elvis Presley. Now I know the role of Presley was small, but he didn’t look the part at all. It was only after someone actually called him Elvis that I actually figured out just who in the world he was supposed to be. There are probably 500,000 more people in the world better suited to play the role. Why did the director choose a two-bit TV actor that only resembles the king of rock and roll if you’re tripping on acid, I will never know.
The Verdict:
Great Music and Powerful performances make this a must see for the year. Phoenix and Witherspoon will draw some great Oscar Buzz for this flick. Although they are both very different and yet similar films chronicling the lives of two music legends, I can easily say I liked Hackford’s presentation of Ray Charles better than I liked Mangold’s presentation of Cash’s life.

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