Monday, November 21, 2005

The Man In Black

It's taken me a day or two to put my finger on it, but I think I've discovered why I left the movie Walk The Line feeling ambivalent about it. (Walking out of the theater I said: "I'm gonna need some time to absorb that one.")

I went in thinking it was about the man, Johnny Cash. I was looking for the Johnny Cash that wrote the lines "I shot man in Reno, just to watch him die." But as Peter Travers says in his Rolling Stone review this week, he ain't here, babe.

Walk The Line, much like Capote was a portrait of a piece of the artist, so too is the Cash movie. It's the piece of Johnny Cash that finds his two true loves - music and June Carter. And most of the movie centers around Johnny waiting for June to agree to marry him, while she waits for Johnny to walk the line. (Sober up, get divorced, propose properly.)

Know this going in and you'll love the movie. There were parts where I stared trance-like at Joaquin Phoenix's Cash-like sneers and Man In Black swagger. But I kept waiting for the movie to reveal the mystique of the man. And well, that never came. So I'm going to have to see it again, only next time with less "life of Johnny Cash" expectations.

So it's on to Cash by Johnny Cash.

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