Sunday, November 20, 2005

Walk the Line

Despite stumbling Walk the Line delivers a painfully beautiful look at Johnny Cash's origins and the love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter. While there are hints at Johnny Cash's faith in Walk the Line it's mostly absent, and anyone who's a Johnny Cash fan will notice.

Walk the Line gets the tension between Cash and Church people with a couple of key scenes and one of the best lines in the movie. What's missing is the tension between the music business and his faith. Sam Phillips is portrayed as the man who saved Johnny Cash from being a Gospel singer by getting him to sing songs he really believed. Columbia execs are concerned he'll alienate his Church going fan base by recording a live album at Folsom Prison. Missing is Cash pushing to record Gospel songs. Look back through the Johnny Cash's music catalog, the gospel songs are there over the objections of management, they're just missing from this movie.

While we're told that the Carter's are true Christians, we get no direct evidence of their faith other than their love for June and Johnny. [side note keep your eye on Ma Carter there's a great moment with her and a shot gun, but if you blink you'll miss it.]

OK so on the spiritual side Walk the Line loses it's nerve and swerves. You should still see this movie. Joaquin Phoenix is Johnny Cash. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter carries a perfect romantic tension that's slow, beautiful and painfully honest.

Other than the lack of Gospel tracks, the selection of Cash tunes in the movie is well done. I particularly enjoyed Joaquin's take on Johnny Cash finding his voice at the begging of the movie. Hearing Johnny Cash classics on the sound system at the teater is a treat in it's self.

Go see Walk the Line. Enjoy the Love story and the music. Then pick up the The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash to fill in the blanks.

- Peace


Richard said...

Lord of the Rings and Chariots of Fire are also wonderful stories of the tension between faith and the desire to succeed. Hollywood has yet to display this tension with any kind of basic understanding.

I heard good things about Shadowlands and its presentation of the faith and life of CS Lewis but never saw it.

they call him Tim said...

Great film as is Shadowlands.