My Father and the Man in Black

"Good"

My Father and the Man in Black Review


It's fascinating to look at the life of Johnny Cash from a new angle, even if this documentary feels somewhat self-indulgent and a bit amateurish. But it has a strong father-son kick to it, as filmmaker Jonathan Holiff looks into the story of his dad Saul, and in the process documents an iconic musician's life from an intriguing perspective.

Jonathan barely knew his father, so after Saul died he takes the chance to go through his files. And he discovers not only some startling details about himself but also the remarkable story of his dad's relationship with Johnny Cash, whom he managed for much of his career. It turns out that it was Saul who encouraged Cash to team up with June Carter. And that Saul took the very young Jonathan on the road when Cash went on tour. But Jonathan's most important discovery is a series of audiotape diaries, in which his father talks about him in ways he never did face-to-face.

Yes, in many ways Cash is almost an accidental part of this story. The film traces his life and career through Saul's eyes, including his descent into drugs and his later adoption of fervent Christianity. But Holiff's real focus here is on his own discovery of the father he never really knew. And this is the point of view through which we see the archive footage, which includes rare scenes of Cash and Carter performing, backstage home movies and private photos.

All of this material is wonderful to see, and it makes up for Holiff's rather awkward narration, in which he tries far too hard to impress upon us how "important" all of this is. But frankly, this quest for his dad is only interesting to him. We are much more intrigued by Saul's life with Cash, which is depicted through a clever use of re-enactions to bring old photos to life and explore foggy memories. The film's also worth seeing as a telling look at the music industry of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, when Cash helped country cross over into the mainstream.



My Father and the Man in Black

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th September 2013

Distributed by: New Chapter Productions, Inc.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jonathan Holiff

Producer: Jonathan Holiff, Tanya Lyn Nazarec, Jennifer Phillips

Starring: as Himself (archive footage), Saul Holiff as Himself (archive footage), as Herself (archive footage), David Disher as Johnny Cash at 30, Gary Holiff as Saul Holiff at 30, Jonathan Holiff as Himself, Bill Haley as Himself (archive footage)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.