directed by James Mangold
Just before his used his celebrity to mess up a classic western (even though you were truly amazing in 3:10 to Yuma, Mr. Ben Foster), James Mangold managed to make a stellar biopic about rock n roll’s Man in Black, the one and only Mister Johnny Cash. Country may have claimed him as one of their own, and they may be right, but Cash was as rock n roll as they come, the whitehot, drugged up voice of the underdog and the criminal. In Joaquin Phoenix Mangold found the closest thing to a reincarnated Cash that one could find. Allegedly Mr. Cash himself said that Phoenix was the only actor fit to play a filmic version of himself, and holy shit was he right. Phoenix even does his own singing, which is as hauntingly accurate as Sam Riley’s stage presence in Anton Corbijn’s Control, and as amazing as he is he can’t hold a candle to the true grit and refreshing loveliness of Reese Witherspoon, who plays June Carter with all the charm and hardened wit that seem to define the iconic songstress. Phoenix acts as if his life depends on it, every time, and supporting cast talent like Robert Patrick (wow) and Waylon Payne, who’s portrayal of The Killer himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, is Duvallian in its complexity, only add to power of the story.
PS Pretty Please, JP, if you ever decide to freak out and give another gonzo performance, try to cut a Cash style album instead of the truly awful rap you vomited up in I’m Still Here. My stomach can’t take a Complifuckincations part 2.