Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
There are music legends, and then there’s Johnny Cash… It’s long overdue that the Man in Black, who turned Dust Bowl folk into pop, made hippies love hillbilly gospel, and ended his career with one of the greatest four album runs of all time… receive a cinematic eulogy from a master of the music biographical documentary...
Thom Zimny is arguably… the Ken Burns of American rock. His works are always to be anticipated and appreciated for their humor and rigor, both for newcomers to a subject and devotees… Like Burns, he has an established technique… to take a pivotal life moment and crystallize his subject’s life around it. With Cash… it’s the famous Fulsom Prison gig, where his defining traits – compassion for the underdog, faith, contrition, grief, hope, righteous anger and wholehearted forgiveness – came together, and the Man in Black was truly forged. It’s a remarkable journey to and from that point, and Zimny shows how pivotal it was.
Zimny’s chorus of unseen voices – Cash’s family, peers, friends, and acolytes like Bruce Springsteen – meld so seamlessly with astonishing archive footage and poetic reconstruction that the man comes alive, in all his rough-hewn, self-destructive, humble, loving brilliance.” — Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle
“Having made a series of laser-focused films on… Springsteen and a revelatory two-part doc on Elvis Presley, [Zimny] offers another portrait that rises above fannishness while fully acknowledging its subject’s legacy… Less a work of musicology than a spiritual portrait… it does right by Cash.” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter