Movie formulas are almost always regrettable, but they are especially so when the subject being formulized is reduced in the process. That’s what happens with Walk the Line, which squeezes the life of Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) into the convenient,
Oscar-friendly Ray format. When it isn’t ignoring hugely relevant portions of Cash’s life – namely his embrace of Christianity from the early 1970s until his death – it demotes one of the most fascinating figures in rock history to Behind the Music cliches. At least Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (as June Carter Cash) do right by the music, even with their own voices.