Review: The Way (2011)

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Mark R. Leeper

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Nov 27, 2011, 5:45:15 PM11/27/11
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THE WAY
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Emilio Estevez produces, writes, directs, and
even acts in this film starring ,his father, Martin
Sheen. Tom Avery (Sheen), an American eye doctor travels
to France to pick up the body of his son (Estevez) who
died on the first day of making a pilgrimage. The route
he was to take was the Camino de Santiago, a Christian
pilgrimage road more than a millennium old. It goes from
the Pyrenees in France into Spain and ends in Santiago de
Compostela in Galicia. Tom decides to complete the
pilgrimage for his son, distributing his son's ashes along
the way. One at a time, three other pilgrims join him.
They travel together and get to know each other. This is
a quiet, warm film that some will find actually spiritual.
Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Actor Martin Sheen had heard since he was a boy about the road that
Christian pilgrims have taken for more than a thousand years to
visit the remains of St. James. The road winds through the hills
of France and Spain with beautiful scenery and old inns along the
way. In 2003 Sheen had walked part of the Camino and found it a
transcendent experience. He suggested to his son Emilio Estevez
(the son who is not so frequently in the news) that he might make a
film about or set on the road. Emilio wrote, produced, directed,
and even appeared in the resulting film.

Ophthalmologist Tom Avery (Sheen) does not like how his son Danny
(Estevez) is not interested in living a prosperous life. Against
Tom's advice Danny is going to travel, see the world, and take in
another lifestyle. Then bad news comes from France. Danny had
started to walk the Camino de Santiago, but was caught in a storm
after only one day and was killed. Tom travels to France to pick
up the body and bring it home. But as a final gift to his son
instead, he has it cremated and intends to spread the ashes along
the Camino. In a dark mood he sets out to walk the route and
spread ashes. At first he keeps running into Joost (Yorick van
Wageningen), a Dutch traveler walking the route. Soon there are
others and he cannot get rid of them. There is Sarah (Deborah Kara
Unger), an ill-tempered Canadian who smokes too much. And there is
Jack (James Nesbitt), a strange Irish writer collecting stories for
a book about his journey. They walk the road by day amongst
beautiful hill-country scenery. They visit churches to admire the
medieval splendor. They talk. They confess to each other. At
night they camp or stay in simple inns and enjoy the local cuisine.
The four travelers talk; they argue; they even come to blows. But
not much happens. This is an adventure film, but not an action
film. You will come to know (or think you know) four people very
well. It is just about how walking the pilgrimage changes each.
This is a "road picture" if there ever was one. Watching the film
is much like just putting your mind to rest and taking the road.

Just as there is no doubt where the four are going, there is little
doubt where the film is going. The four squabbling travelers will
transform into four spiritual pilgrims who will share a life-long
bond. The travelers will face their own preconceptions and
prejudices. Everything about the film is peaceful or leads to
peace. Even the colors are a little muted to not be too strident.
Estevez based the film on stories by author Jack Hitt, and it is
probably no coincidence that the writer-character is named Jack.

There is a deep quiet in this film, a mood that will not be found
in any other film this year. The viewer will come away feeling
connected to France, Spain, history, and humanity. I rate THE WAY
+2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits: <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441912/>

What others are saying:
<http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_way_2011/>


Mark R. Leeper
mle...@optonline.net
Copyright 2011 Mark R. Leeper
THE WAY
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Emilio Estevez produces, writes, directs, and
even acts in this film starring ,his father, Martin
Sheen. Tom Avery (Sheen), an American eye doctor travels
to France to pick up the body of his son (Estevez) who
died on the first day of making a pilgrimage. The route
he was to take was the Camino de Santiago, a Christian
pilgrimage road more than a millennium old. It goes from
the Pyrenees in France into Spain and ends in Santiago de
Compostela in Galicia. Tom decides to complete the
pilgrimage for his son, distributing his son's ashes along
the way. One at a time, three other pilgrims join him.
They travel together and get to know each other. This is
a quiet, warm film that some will find actually spiritual.
Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Actor Martin Sheen had heard since he was a boy about the road that
Christian pilgrims have taken for more than a thousand years to
visit the remains of St. James. The road winds through the hills
of France and Spain with beautiful scenery and old inns along the
way. In 2003 Sheen had walked part of the Camino and found it a
transcendent experience. He suggested to his son Emilio Estevez
(the son who is not so frequently in the news) that he might make a
film about or set on the road. Emilio wrote, produced, directed,
and even appeared in the resulting film.

Ophthalmologist Tom Avery (Sheen) does not like how his son Danny
(Estevez) is not interested in living a prosperous life. Against
Tom's advice Danny is going to travel, see the world, and take in
another lifestyle. Then bad news comes from France. Danny had
started to walk the Camino de Santiago, but was caught in a storm
after only one day and was killed. Tom travels to France to pick
up the body and bring it home. But as a final gift to his son
instead, he has it cremated and intends to spread the ashes along
the Camino. In a dark mood he sets out to walk the route and
spread ashes. At first he keeps running into Joost (Yorick van
Wageningen), a Dutch traveler walking the route. Soon there are
others and he cannot get rid of them. There is Sarah (Deborah Kara
Unger), an ill-tempered Canadian who smokes too much. And there is
Jack (James Nesbitt), a strange Irish writer collecting stories for
a book about his journey. They walk the road by day amongst
beautiful hill-country scenery. They visit churches to admire the
medieval splendor. They talk. They confess to each other. At
night they camp or stay in simple inns and enjoy the local cuisine.
The four travelers talk; they argue; they even come to blows. But
not much happens. This is an adventure film, but not an action
film. You will come to know (or think you know) four people very
well. It is just about how walking the pilgrimage changes each.
This is a "road picture" if there ever was one. Watching the film
is much like just putting your mind to rest and taking the road.

Just as there is no doubt where the four are going, there is little
doubt where the film is going. The four squabbling travelers will
transform into four spiritual pilgrims who will share a life-long
bond. The travelers will face their own preconceptions and
prejudices. Everything about the film is peaceful or leads to
peace. Even the colors are a little muted to not be too strident.
Estevez based the film on stories by author Jack Hitt, and it is
probably no coincidence that the writer-character is named Jack.

There is a deep quiet in this film, a mood that will not be found
in any other film this year. The viewer will come away feeling
connected to France, Spain, history, and humanity. I rate THE WAY
+2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits: <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441912/>

What others are saying:
<http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_way_2011/>


Mark R. Leeper
mle...@optonline.net
Copyright 2011 Mark R. Leeper

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