BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Walk the Line ★★★★
9.00-11.40pm Movie Mix
Before his bizarre year-long hoax in which, for the purposes of a cod-documentary, I’m Still Here, he pretended to be a drugged-up wannabe hip-hop singer, Joaquin Phoenix was a pretty good actor. He proved it as Commodus in Gladiator and even more in his Oscar-nominated performance as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. Biopics of American singers tend to be pretty much the same — dirt-poor childhood, paternal opposition and contempt (in Cash’s case), hard times, success, drugs and/or drink, decline, love of a good woman, salvation, redemption and lasting fame. Cash ran the full familiar gamut. What differentiates one film from another are the background details, the music and the performances. Here the latter are exceptional. Phoenix, who sings all the songs, is terrific and Reese Witherspoon, who won the Oscar as Cash’s wife June, is even better. Between them they, and James Mangold’s direction, turn what could have been a sentimental wallow into something very enjoyable and moving.
Double Indemnity ★★★★★
Fred MacMurray gets in way over his head with femme fatale Barbara Stanwyck in this cracking film noir from Billy Wilder.
Back to the Future ★★★★★
Teenager Michael J Fox travels through time to his parents’ high-school heyday in the brilliant blockbuster sci-fi comedy that celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
The Business ★★★
Danny Dyer stars as the young geezer who gets his gangster smarts from Costa del Crime expat Tamer Hassan in this glossy “Goodfellas in the sun” yarn.
Sylvester Stallone’s New York cop has his hands full with a vicious terrorist (Rutger Hauer) in this gritty thriller that owes much to The French Connection.