Walk the Line DVD REVIEW


Walk the Line Photos








Oscar-Nominated Bio-Pic Out on DVD

Whether accurate or not, Hollywood has a need to turn every biography into a Horatio Alger story about a down-on-his-luck loser overcoming the odds to achieve the American Dream. This might explain why Walk the Line, featuring Oscar-nominated performances by both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, gives no hint that its subject, Johnny Cash was a college grad from a middle-class family. Instead, it serves up a rehash of his carefully-cultivated “Man in Black” outlaw image, including a misleading depiction of him in prison, when he only actually spent one night behind
bars in his entire life.
    This flick’s primary failing is the absence of that trademark Cash baritone, because Mr. Phoenix handles all his own singing. And while he might be able to hold his own in karaoke contest, his voice simply doesn’t measure up to that of the celebrated icon he’s attempting to impersonate.
    In this regard, Walk the Line is reminiscent of Beyond the Sea, a vanity pic in which actor/writer/director Kevin Spacey delivered equally-mediocre renditions of tunes culled from the “Best of Bobby Darin” songbook. But Walk the Line has just a couple of recognizable hits in it, the title track and Ring of Fire.
   Unfortunately, the preposterous plot of this tortoise-paced bio-pic is no more convincing, asking us to buy into the idea that Johnny was in love with June Carter (Ms. Witherspoon) from the day he first heard her on the radio at the age of 10. Relying on this “fated-to-be” theory, the story deliberately works its way to a phony-baloney “off into the sunset” ending based on the notion that these two adulterers finally found immortal bliss after breaking up each other’s marriages and undoubtedly wrecking the home lives of their young children.
   It’s no surprise that the kids from Johnny’s first marriage went public to indict the presentation of their father as a family man as purely a Hollywood fabrication.

Fair (1 star)
Rating: PG-13 for profanity, ethnic slurs, mature themes, and a depiction of
drug dependency.
Running time: 136 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Director’s commentary, 10 deleted scenes, theatrical trailer,
product trailers, and commercials for other Fox films.