I n 2006 “Walk the Line,” the film about the life of singer Johnny Cash was voted the best musical biopic of all time in a poll.
On May 1, 1956, Johnny Cash released his classic song, ‘I Walk the Line’, which became his first U.S. No. 1 country hit and stayed on the charts for more than 43 weeks, selling over 2 million copies.
The song’s unique chord progression was inspired by playing backwards from the guitar performances on Cash’s recorder while in the Air Force stationed in Germany in the late 1960s as part of the search for a true America.
Movies and the country in general began to take country music and its world more seriously. This change was signaled when Bob Dylan recorded his album Nashville Skyline 1969, in Nashville and included a duet with Johnny Cash.
There was then a succession of prestigious films with country music on the soundtrack, including Five Easy Pieces (Tammy Wynette) by Bob Rafelson and ” Walk The Line “ (Johnny Cash).
In 1980, Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for impersonating Loretta Lynn in The Coal Miner’s Daughter of Michael Apted, like Robert Duvall three years later as a fictional country singer in Tender Mercies de Bruce Beresford. They were joined by Karel Reisz’s “Sweet Dreams”, a biographical film that affects Patsy Cline, for which Jessica Lange received an Oscar nomination. Interestingly, all three films were the work of foreign directors.
There are few figures as authentic or representative as Johnny Cash . The story of Cash’s life, or part of it, is told in ” Walk the Line” de James Mangold, here called “On the tight rope”Something surreal and stupid, but that’s how multinationals are, when they are far away.
This is a conventional biopic of the new style in which Johnny Cash is played by Joaquin Phoenix. It tells of the singer’s career from childhood to a poor sharecropping family in rural Arkansas, where he was born in 1932, until 1968, when he married June Carter and reached his great peak of fame that he never complained about. Both June and Johnny died in 2003.
The film is largely set in a lengthy flashback to the famous concert of 1968 Johnny Cash in California’s Folsom Prison, when he performed before a reclusive audience, of convicts who saw in his songs an expression of their own situation and in Cash a man who understood their difficult situations.
However, either we get the expected concert until the movie is about to end and the trigger of the flashback is his own Johnny Cash waiting in the prison workshop to go up on stage and play the famous cowboy music saw. . This instrument is the Rosebud. as in “Citizen Kane” by Orson Welles. It is the dangerous tool that killed his brother in the field while little Johnny was fishing. The movie works like this, always on parallel tracks.
The story tells of Cash’s gradual discovery of his talent as an artist. He bought his first guitar while serving in the United States Air Force in Germany and, after seeing the movie, Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, writes his first major song, “Folsom Prison Blues”, in which he imagines himself as an imprisoned murderer.
This clearly captures her motives for empathy and self-dramatization. Upon his return to the United States, he marries a conventional Eisenhower-era girl and unhappily works as a door-to-door salesman. Almost by accident, he meets Sun Studios en Memphis and changes from gospel singing to country rock and embarks on an unforeseeable musical career. While on the road, he meets his soulmate and gavorite of his youth, the haunting, disturbing and joyous singer, the star of country music. June Carter , que interpreta Reese Witherspoon. But for more than a decade, June will elude Johnny.
The other story is about Cash’s lack of self-esteem, his need to prove himself, to impress his unyielding father. This is what leads him to drinking, taking drugs and being a womanizer, resulting in degradation and despair. The film almost wallows in its sorry state when it hits rock bottom, at which point it is saved thanks to the love of a good woman, June Carter, who has grown up in the country music business as a member of a family of cowgirl stars.
Like the heroines, June has survived painful marriages that afflict most country singers and inspire many of their songs. The carter family and a return to their Christian beliefs causes the Cash redemption. In one particularly poignant and comical scene, June’s parents, like a pair of old-fashioned mountain people, load shotguns to drive the drug lord away from Johnnny Cash from the family home.
What could have been a superficial and sentimental film has considerable depth given the quality of the two central performances.Joaquin Phoenix y Reese Witherspoon they delve deep into their characters, finding qualities that transcend showbiz, without suggesting that their commitment to performance is an insignificant or unworthy matter.
At the end, “Walk the Line”It is a film that deals with opportunities, whether it is the ones that life gives you to experience it -as it happens with Johnny, when he saves himself from dying with his brother-; to take advantage of those opportunities to dedicate to what one wants and to be successful -such as a musical career-; the opportunities that others offer you to change your course and offer you help when you need it – and the strength that comes from knowing how to let go of pride and accept it; and the opportunities that arise for love, either to have it at the right time, or to try one or a thousand times to have a happy ending, as happened in some way with Johnny y June, who after getting married, and having known each other for so many years, stayed together until death.
Finally, this movie certainly wouldn’t be the same without Joaquin Phoenix and, above all, Reese Witherspoon-won an Oscar- , who really take over their roles in an incredible way, not only showing us the internal conflicts of each character, but selling us in each look, each gesture, each subtlety the relationship between them.
It certainly also helps that both actors were singing and playing their own instruments in the film, and really getting close to the figures they were playing and, in some cases, sounding almost the same as the originals. Particularly important in this as we said is the interpretation of June Carter que hace Witherspoon, Not only because it is the emotional center of the film, but because we can see in it an inherent pain and sadness in those acts that make her realize the love she feels for a man as self-conscious and tormented by his own demons as Cash; Furthermore, the film is an important historical document, since contrary to her husband’s prolific career -and the testimonies in this regard-, there was little audiovisual material that June Carter will leave aliveTherefore, the interpretation of Witherspoon after carefully studying the history, testimonies and material of June serve in a great way to reconstruct the most complex period of her life.
They both do their own singing, and while country music experts may not find them as good as the originals, this adds to the conviction of a movie. immensely funny and, at times, poignant.
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