Even the most dedicated of Johnny Cash fans will find this rather one-sided recollection of the troubled relationship with his manager Saul Holiff frustrating to watch. Jonathan Holiff’s mother gave him the keys to a secret lock up after his father, Saul, committed suicide in 2005. His personal attachment to the project is hard to get away from as he laments over the work that took his father away from him.
Between awkward re-enactments that lean towards painful to watch, there is room for the audio tapes and scrap books that Jonathan finds in his father’s lock up to be listened to and looked over. These become something to look forward to in what otherwise feels like a group therapy session. Long periods of narration from Jonathan would lend themselves better to the written word and a good editor as it becomes self-indulgent. The real interest lies in learning about Saul’s life and his time as manager to Johnny Cash.
Saul Holiff’s resignation as Cash’s manager became something of a contentious issue and his son sets out to right some wrongs and tell some truths about what really happened. Stories about Saul’s rise to the top and early life are excellent in portraying his work ethic as are the stories about Cash’s discussions with him about religion. Unfortunately not enough time is spent exploring their fascinating relationship.