Film Review: The Way
Patchy editing and an overwritten script do little to dissuade viewers from joining grieving father (Martin Sheen) and a ragtag band of pilgrims on an 800km walk to the Spanish sea.
Upon discovering that his estranged son (played by Emilio Estevez) has died on the El camino de Santiago in the French Pyrenees, American opthamologist Tom travels from California to identify and retrieve his son’s body.
Something happens when he gets to St Jean Pied de Port, the tiny French village where his son is in the morgue. You could call it an epiphany: that his life is running out.
Tom sets out – with his son’s backpack containing all of his belongings – to finish what his son started; retracing the steps of Saint James all the way to Santiago de Compostela on the western side of Spain.
The Way, which begins as a lament on the difficulties of father/son relationships, ends up as a celebration of unlikely friendships. Tom –a stern old bugger unaccustomed to discomfort– quickly adapts to the unpredictable nature of life on the road and finds peace (and perhaps self-forgiveness) in the act of placing his son’s ashes along the route.
He also manages to pick up a few hangers on; people whose foibles, idiosyncrasies and charms are played out amidst the Spanish backcountry walking trails.
See it for the scenery. Like it for the weepy bits. Love it for the cool gypsy subplot. The Way is in cinemas now.
Have you seen it? What did you think?