Walk the Line Review and Bluray Features
Walk the Line
18 Nov 2005
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Lead Roles (Talk about Lightning Striking!)
I had been waiting to see this movie since I read that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were cast in the lead roles. I was not sure what to expect when I heard they were going to do their own singing, but was I ever impressed. Their performances in this movie were brilliant, and I had chills down my spine. It was truly amazing how much Phoenix sounded like Johnny Cash-this was a role he was born to play, and he was mesmerizing. Totally sizzling. Witherspoon was positively radiant as June Carter, and talk about chemistry between the two actors (Talk about Lightning Striking!). I only hope they are rewarded for their efforts come Oscar time.
The Marriage Proposal
Did the marriage proposal that June accepted really happen on stage? Or was that for dramatic purposes? It really annoyed me that, after all the times she said no, he would put her on the spot in front of all those people. Yes, I know they lived happily ever after, but still…
That was Elvis?!
“That’s alright, momma” song?
Tell me that wasn’t supposed to be Elvis.
Didn’t look or sound like him
They could’ve got someone so much better. I don’t really care much though because I’m not an Elvis fan and the film is not about him
I agree, that was not a good Elvis. With all the tribute artists around, I thought they could have found a much better young Elvis. Then again, maybe they didn’t wanted Elvis to be such an up front character. The movie was about Johnny Cash.
They didn’t want anyone too good. After all, the movie is about John Cash
The film was screened for the inmates of Folsom Prison, 38 years after Johnny Cash’s landmark performance.
Johnny and his dad
Why did his dad resent him so much? It wasn’t his fault his brother died, it was an accident. Did they ever make peace later in life?
It seemed to me that after Johnny married June, him and his father got it together. It happens right at the end of the movie so you might have missed it but his dad seemed to be happy with Johnny’s new family life.
In real life, it wasn’t this pointed and directed, Johnny merely felt his father blamed him, there was no direct blame from his father, merely implied blame which couldn’t be summed up on film. However, as the movie portrays, they worked it out in later years.
The peanut scene– such a sexy and funny scene
Loved this movie, and that scene in particular. It really showed them falling in love!
Another scene I liked was them fishing. That was a tender moment that you could just tell they were falling for each other.
Vivian’s grief of being alone
I’ve read recent reports that the family of Vivian Cash (Johnny’s first wife) was upset by how their mother was depicted in the movie, but I don’t really understand that. Ginnifer Goodwin, another one who deserves an Oscar nomination, showed Vivian’s grief of being alone, raising her daughters alone, and knowing in her heart that her husband was in love with June. According to the movie, Johnny was a horrible husband to Vivian, and I thought the movie did a good job of not sugar-coating that fact. I admit I cheered a little when she smashed the picture of June because you couldn’t really blame her for doing that.
RT/Meta Critic Review
What made this film work, and what ultimately won it most of its acclaim, were the performances of the actors. (Click here to see)
“Sharp as a razor, steady as a train,” is how Cash’s music is often described, but it’s also a good descriptor for Walk the Line‘s 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer, which is consistently crisp and beautifully colored. The 2.39:1-framed image seems identical to the Extended Cut that was released in Europe in late 2008, and that’s a good thing, as Walk the Line‘s rich, filmic look has been preserved with no unnecessary additives like edge enhancement or detail- scrubbing DNR, and no banding, blocking, or other compression-related corrupters. With the exception of a few noticeably soft shots—I’m thinking of Cash stumbling through the woods in the rain—overall clarity is excellent, down to the smallest detail. See the simultaneously gritty and shiny texture of Joaquin’s face, covered in sweat and stubble after several days of cold turkey withdrawal. Notice the weft in Cash’s mother’s straw hat at she picks cotton, or the ribbing in Cash’s “wife beater” undershirt. And color reproduction easily keeps pace with clarity. Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael has drenched the film in hues that are nostalgic but not sentimental—creamy off-whites, rich honey browns, and the woody sunburst gradients of a vintage Gibson guitar. Skin tones are natural, contrast is tight, and fittingly for the Man in Black, black levels are deep while preserving shadow detail (see Cash’s black suit for proof). All of this comes together to create an image that, like the film, is full of depth and life.
As you’d expect and hope from such a music-centric film, Walk the Line‘s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a blissfully immersive, dynamically solid experience that truly captures the boom-chicka-boom intensity of Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three. Even from the beginning of the film it’s easy to fall in love with the sound design. We hear a low, steady rumble outside the prison, heavy with LFE engagement. As a tracking shot takes us closer to the buildings, the sound becomes clearer and clearer—it’s a twanging two-step shuffle that builds along with the claps and chatter of prisoners awaiting the arrival of the Man in Black. The musical sequences sound simply fantastic; bass pours forth into the audience, guitars go from chickenscratch rhythms to glassy solos, brushes snap cleanly at a snare drum, and above it all, Joaquin Phoenix lets loose with his best bass-baritone Cash impression, his voice soaked in reverb. While these are the film’s most sonically engaging moments—you’ll frequently feel like you’re up on stage with Cash or else out swaying in the audience—even the quieter scenes are filled out with detailed ambience, like a prison guard’s jangling keys, thunder peeling in the rear channels, chirping birds and seething insects. Dialogue is always clean, easy to understand, and natural-sounding, and as my colleague Dr. Svet Atanasov noted in his review of the film’s French release, the way Phoenix says “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” will send shivers down your spine.
Feature Commentary by Co-Writer and Director James Mangold
Mangold’s track is simply a must-listen for Cash fans. Not only does the director give a wealth of information about the production of the film, but he also relates several stories about his meetings with Johnny Cash. My favorite anecdote is when he tells us about asking what Cash’s favorite film was. Cash said it was the original Frankenstein, because it’s about a man made up of “all these bad parts” but who still tries to achieve some manner of goodness. That just about sums up Walk the Line.
More Man in Black – Deleted Scenes (1080p, 23:13)
The disc includes ten deleted scenes, some of which eventually made their way into the Extended Cut. I highly recommend listening to the optional commentary by director James Mangold, who discusses in detail why each scene was cut.
Extended Musical Sequences (1080p, 5:40 total)
Here we get extended versions of “Rock and Roll Ruby,” “Jackson,” and “Cocaine Blues,” but we’re missing five extended songs that were included on the French and U.K. releases of the film.
Folsum, Cash & the Comeback (SD, 11:47) is the story of Cash’s comeback show at Folsum Prison and the subsequent live record, as told by several musicians and writers. Celebrating the Man in Black: The Making of Walk the Line (SD, 21:38) is one part condensed story—illustrated with the clips from the film—and one part behind-the-scenes documentary, including interviews with just about everyone involved. Lastly, Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny & June (SD, 11:29) is a history of the two soulmates’ relationship. Missing in action is the 12-minute segment on Cash’s faith that was included in the European releases.
Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 1:49)