Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno just to watch him die - a fact that Walk the Line owns up to grudgingly, like a liar caught dead to rights. The film wants to tell a story in league with Cash's biblical ballads, about a mythic, threatening hero who could call down plagues of locusts onto the cottonfields with just his voice and mean temper. But The Man in Black was an entertainer, savvy about his image, and involved enough in the making of this film to make certain that his self-destructive screen persona never deals anything more than superficial blows to himself or others. The hero might curse himself or his women, but never God or his mama. Other characters might question Cash's sanity or his virtue, but never his talent or his most obvious flaws, like his penchant for relentless self-promotion. You won't hear, for example, about the time a news magazine dubbed his home ‘Cashville’ for all the shameless hawking done there, including two-dollar-a-pop peeks at his gold records and a Cash cookbook.