Jan 11, 2008

Notes on Walk The Line

just back from watching the oscar nominated 'walk the line', a movie both a & i enjoyed immensely. me, more so for the fact that though it traces johnny cash's career as one of the greatest country singers of all time, it's at heart the unblemished story of a man's love for a woman that governed more than three fourths of his life - something that you'd be hard put to find in the dizzying lives of celebrities. i think thats the reason 'walk the line' appealed to me more than 'ray'. ok, so i'm a sucker for romance, but trust me, these guys are worth it.

joaquin phoenix is most definitely my current hollywood crush. there's something about those eyes, the intense while not exactly besotted look he has, that's sure to set the mushometer rocketing. most of the time i sat looking at him & there was this very palpable sense of a man who is dying of thirst & will give up anything for a glass of water. no wonder, he is able to give up his cursed addiction because of his greater addiction & need for singer june carter (reese witherspoon). in his universe, it is not the house that matters, the adulation or even the security that fame guarantees, if june is not a part of his life. he disregards embarrassment, rejection & even family to gain june's presence in his life, if only as a friend. cliched though it may sound, he is indeed a rudderless boat without her.

what is beautiful is the way others around him gradually come to understand & even empathise with his need for her. there's this oddly touching moment where johnny & his band are travelling at night in a trailer on their way from one concert to another & he suddenly wakes up disoriented & looks around & without a word his accompanist says, "she's in the back." june's parents understand this too & prompt her to be his friend when it seems he has nothing more to lose - he is penny less, helpless from addiction, estranged from his wife & daughters & unable to stand his fathers unrelenting & remorseless criticism.

i couldn't help thinking of how aamir khan would play the role as i was watching phoenix portray the crazy genius of cash, complete with slight head rolls & barely perceptible twitches when the drugs hit him or when he arrives at june's door walking a great distance from nashville after he has lost his car to mortgage. there is not an iota of exaggeration in his walk, no slurring & no manic eye movement to make us connect to his losing grip on sanity. in fact, cash is poignant & u want june to accept him & give him a chance because phoenix is so restrained, so bloody noble. yeah, despite the ignominy of sneaking pills or falling on his face.

its been ages since i've been so completely awed by a love story & 'walk the line' effortlessly reinforces the idea of soul mates, that detestable word reminiscent of our unfulfilled adolescent dreams of a grand romance. as cash's eager eye devours june's face as they stand singing on stage after the 1st time he tries unsuccessfully to kiss her, you do believe that this aint about the making love mostly. this man would be contended to just make music with her. it's as if he knew from the first moment he set eyes on her (he's been listening to her songs much before) that if he couldn't have her, he'd have to go through life without anything or anybody really touching him. for all his big talk to her of being afraid of being in his shadow when he proposes to her for the umpteenth time & is rejected, he knows that the bigger star is not the braver. he loses all if he loses her & it is ultimately june's unflinching love & support that weans him away from drugs. may be a lot of this is pure drama & cash never really recovered from his addiction. point is, it doesn't matter. what does matter is that cash & carter did marry, loved & sang together for 35 years & he died within four months of her death. if that isn't something.... and yes, when he finally got tired of her rejections, he did propose to her during a concert, in front of a thousand fans.