Monday, December 12, 2005

Walk This Way: I saw "Walk the Line" this weekend (in a beautifully restored Art Deco theater, by the way) and came away disappointed. Both Phoenix and Witherspoon do fine acting in demanding roles, but I didn't feel like they were given anywhere to go. The dialogue is not especially impressive, and there was little apparent chemistry between the leads. Cash, in the movie, comes across as a drunk, pill-popping rube with a guitar (and a lip curl that would do Elvis proud), who wants the woman of his dreams so badly that he dogs her around like he has pre-emptively pussy-whipped himself. Nowhere is there any sense of the dark depths of the mind of the man in black; rather than a cipher, he's just a motiveless blank slate, aside from a little heavy-handed work with a pleasing-the-distant-father angle late in the drama.

Here's a for instance: Cash whips through the Air Force in about four and a half seconds in this flick. Cut to brooding hillbilly singing in a hangar in Germany. Cut back stateside. No mention of the fact that Cash was said to have an uncanny ability with morse code. But nothing that complicated or complicating exists in the mind of this Cash, who seems too be just a dumb huckleberry with a guitar who stood in the right place at the right time. For all of Phoenix's work, and pretty decent singing, most of the time, they might as well have stuck a cardboard cutout on screen instead.

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