Cash on the money

PUBLISHED: 11:13 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line

LIKE last year's Ray, Walk the Line, the new biopic of Johnny Cash takes a very straightforward approach to its subject and relies on a powerful central performance for its success. Or in this case two central performances, for Reese Witherspoon as Cash's

LIKE last year's Ray, Walk the Line, the new biopic of Johnny Cash takes a very straightforward approach to its subject and relies on a powerful central performance for its success. Or in this case two central performances, for Reese Witherspoon as Cash's second wife June Carter is equally as good as Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black himself. While their physical resemblance to the real life characters is not all that strong, both capture the personalities and especially the voices, performing the songs themselves. The film only tells the story of the first part of Cash's life, from his childhood through to his famous concert at Foulsom Prison in 1968. We see his grief at the death of his brother, his disapproving father, the early days of his career and meetings with the likes of Elvis. Then we get his struggles with addiction to drugs and booze and how the efforts and love of Carter rescue him. Aside from that there is the music, several songs being played all the way through. As a film it doesn't really offer any great psychological insights into the star's life and if you have no interest in the music, you may feel you have no interest in the film. But the two stars are compelling, with a chemistry that makes the film, and the real reason to see it is to see two actors at the top of their game. JIM BLUCK

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