Johnny Cash’s dramatic road to Christianity is no secret to his fans and thanks to the recent biopic, Walk The Line, it’s no secret to the masses. Cash made this film, he explains, to show people why he is so drawn to the Passion of Christ. This is no doubt a sincere effort to bring this expression to life. The film is entirely shot in the Holy Land. The film is enhanced by the wonderful locations. Cash attempted to follow the actual path of Christ. There is no doubt that the care and conviction Cash felt is evide…t on the screen..
Gospel Road is basically the story of Christ’s life. Cash narrates the entire film which gives it more of the flavor of an educational effort. At times it feels like watching an A&E biography. When Cash isn’t speaking he’s singing. It is in the music that this film separates itself from the many Christian biopics out there. Unfortunately there really aren’t many complete songs. Instead he uses musical phrases to reinforce more powerful messages. The bad news is that the cast has a very difficult job. There is no real dialogue from the actors. The only notable exception is June Carter Cash, who plays Mary Magdalene. She has the only real speaking part in the film. While she does a good job I’m not sure it fits the message Cash was trying to convey. It seems strange that that role would be stronger than even Christ himself. The action takes place not on sets but rather out in the wilds of Israel. The style recalls the technique also used to great effect in Jesus Christ Superstar, coincidentally another musical depiction of The Passion..
The Gospel Road is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. You can see right from the opening shot the print is saturated with grain. While at times it is adequate often the grain is so bad it kills any detail the wonderful locations provided. Color is washed and black levels are extremely week. The transfer contains numerous print flaws. It doesn’t appear that any care at all was made while selecting a print or cleaning it up. A very disappointing transfer.
Audio is marginally better than the video here. A Dolby Digital 2.0 track gives us faithful representation of Cash’s narration. The music is also fair but often includes a mild tape hiss that can be taken out some with careful equalization modification. With music being such a huge part of this production a cleaner fuller sound was certainly justified. There is great potential in this soundtrack if Fox had taken the time to clean it up.
There are 2 short audio radio spots for the film. One is 60 seconds the other 30. Cash quickly explains why he made the film.
It is far too obvious that this film was only released to coincide with the DVD release of Walk The Line. While that in itself is fine, no care whatsoever was put into making this a quality DVD in its own right. Fans, while happy to have the film, are ultimately going to be disappointed in the presentation. A disservice to this “Act of kindness, of love, and of charity”.
Special Features List
- Radio Spots
- Still Gallery