Contemporary World Cinema
USA / 2005 / English dialogue with Unknown subtitles / Colour / 35 mm / 135 minutes
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This rousing biopic of the country-and-western singer Johnny Cash (Phoenix) begins in his troubled childhood (the tragic death of his older brother, and the brutality of his father, who told Johnny that the wrong son had died). Then it takes in his addiction to drugs and alcohol, rise to stardom and second marriage to, and successful joint career with, singer June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). Backed by a well crafted script and direction, much of the film's power inevitably resides with Phoenix and Witherspoon, who took the plunge and performed Cash and Carter's songs for real. They rise to the occasion with extraordinary acting and phenomenal singing, not least in the famed 1968 concert at Folsom Prison.


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