DVD REVIEWS: Walk the Line ...and more country

Walk the Line: single-disc edition 20th Century Fox
Movie •••• Picture/Sound •••• Extras •••
Johnny Cash was always the coolest guy in the room. Cowriter/director James Mangold's movie makes that clear without shying away from the drug use and narcissism that came with the territory. And Joaquin Phoenix doesn't imitate Cash, he inhabits the man, with fearless vocals that deliver plenty of hardscrabble grit. Reese Witherspoon sings just as well, and she was surely born to play the saucy June Carter and win that Oscar for doing so.

Thankfully, the DVD gets the music right. Live performances have very good dynamics and plenty of deep, clean mid-bass. The surround channels add presence, reverb, and crowd buzz without overloading the rear soundstage. The DVD transfer is also excellent. Blacks are as black as they come, and the purposely muted color palette never lacks detail at the dark end of the spectrum. When colors get hot (as in the spotlit performance scenes), they hold their tones without oversaturation.

Extras include 10 short deleted scenes that don't add much, but Mangold's commentary has more than a handful of reasonably juicy nuggets about the production. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1; French and Spanish, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer. - Marc Horowitz

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