The Way - 121min – PG13
The title of my blog is a blessing and a curse. I walk up and ask “what is showing next?” I have been told that this will subject me to a lot of bad films, and it has. It is the risk I am willing to take because of the amazing movies that come along and surprise me. It is 12:47am and I am so moved by this film that I can’t go to sleep until my thoughts are out on paper, or computer that is. The Way is a movie that makes all the bad movies worthwhile. It is the reason why I started to write about film. The Way is a small picture, but it has such a powerful presence that it needs to be the model for big budget films. It was filmed with passion and care. It’s a movie that brings you along its journey of self-discovery and invites you to share in the richness of other cultures. This movie has not only earned a green light from me, but it has earned a place among my favorite films.
The movie surrounds Tom (Martin Sheen), who is going overseas to recover the body of his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez), who perished in an accident while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago”. Tom decides to continue his son’s pilgrimage and carry his ashes through the journey. Along the way Tom builds a relationship with Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger), Joost (Yorick van Wageningen), and Jack (James Nesbitt). Everyone who makes the pilgrimage does so for their own very personal reasons. Along the way they learn to share not only the road but each other’s burdens. The characters in this film are completely enjoyable. I found myself caring for each of them. They actors did a great job of showing the development of each of the characters, all of them started the journey with things they needed to work through, and it was great to watch them complete the journey physically and emotionally.
Emilio Estevez is working in a way that few people can accomplish. He was director, writer and stars in this movie. This movie did not feel like it was one person’s voice. It felt more like a move should, with a diverse and natural flow to the story. It is not a story that was being told to you, but an event that you experienced. The film was about people on pilgrimage and it’s a challenge to make that interesting. The Way was edited in such a way as to keep the eye engaged by the different landmarks along its journey. Estevez‘s script has some simple elements to it but like a master chef, he blends them together so that they seem much more complex. This move has many Catholic elements without preaching to you. There was no underlying agenda to its story. It was quite refreshing to see a movie with religious elements but not try to subtlety apply those themes with a sledge hammer.
Warning Spoilers!! Walk this path Carefully!!!
One of the best lines in this movie is when they are in the crazy guy’s house. Tom says his is going to go ask the crazy owner how much it’s going to be to stay and all of them decide to go with him. He asked them, “what are you, five”? Joost replies ”no, just scared”.
I really liked the way that the Gypsies were portrayed in this film. It takes a stab at changing the image that they are all thieves. Antonio Gil played the Father of a young Gypsy. He is one of my favorite characters. Making his son carry the backpack he stole for the person he stole it from was a great touch. He gives a great line. “Our children are the best and worst of us.”
Another person that needs a special mention is Tchéky Karyo. His character starts Tom on his journey and is a wonderful guide to start him off. He asks Tom not to go because he is not ready, and when he realizes that he will not change his mind, he gives him the help he needs to start off.
Another nice part is how drastically Tom has changed at the end of the film. He goes form someone who lives a life as if it was a chain, to someone who is now truly living. I loved seeing him in Cairo (I think) walking along the streets.
Rotten Tomatoes has this list thing where they ask a star what their five favorite movies are, what are yours? This is now in my top five.