The more I think about it and relive its best moments, the more I like Walk the Line, James Mangold's screen biography of Johnny Cash, with pitch-perfect performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Robert Patrick.
It's one of those rare screen bios that has juice to it, that seems to get as close as a real-life drama can to the real life behind it.
The story -- nicely structured by Gill Dennis and Mangold, based on Cash's biography -- is a model of focus. It doesn't try to tell the whole story, just the best part: the rise, fall and rise of Cash from youth to his volcanic performance at Folsom Prison in 1968, It's a movie that knows it has a great story in its hands and doesn't blow it. It's a gloriously personal story and a great crowd-pleaser: everything about it, starting with Phoenix's magnetic performance, just pulls you in.