A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A choleric California eye doctor receives a call from an inspector from the south of France informing him that his son has been killed in an accident in the Pyrenees on the first day of a spiritual trek to the Spanish coast. Flying over to retrieve the body, he decides to have his son cremated and complete the 800 kilometer journey for him. Along his path, he meets three wounded souls who gradually gain his friendship as they help each other on their arduous physical and emotional journey. "The Way" was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, and strives to be old fashioned and inspirational filmmaking of the highest order ("The Wizard of Oz" is cited as inspiration). In the lead role and working under his son, Martin Sheen delivers a powerful internalized performance, the likes of which typify his best work, and Estevez shows a steady directorial hand, nicely capturing the the European locales along the impressive trail. However, the film is overly sentimentalized and the characterizations of the other cast members come off as trite and smarmy. I'm a sucker for road movies, and there's some really nice footage and a fine performance by Sheen, but in the end this is just schmaltz. For a better film about a long and arduous foot journey released earlier this year, I would recommend Peter Weir's "The Way Back".