The Way was okay. What do you say? Nay? Hey! Go eat some hay. Down by the bay? I just may!
That’s enough of that.
Emilio Estevez gives us an all right movie starring his dad, Martin Sheen. He brings us a tale of a father who last his son on a trek through Europe and decides to finish the journey in his honor and as a coping method. The film does have some religious aspects in it, surely near the end, but it’s not as blunt and demanding of your faith as other movies with those elements. The Way is safe and doesn’t take you off the realm of comfort, which may be its shining flaw.
Martin Sheen plays the role of Tom. Tom is a whole hearted guy who never means any harm to anyone. He is an eye doctor and he seems to be living his life the way he chooses. His son, Daniel (Emilio Estevez) is in France traveling the El Camino de Santiago trail that leads from France to Spain. One day, while having a relaxed day on the golf course, Tom gets a phone call saying his son was killed in a storm while on the trail. So he stops what he is doing and goes to France to collect his son’s body. Whilst there, one of the locals tells Tom about the journey he was on and how sacred and self-fulfilling it is. The point of walking “The Way” is to find yourself. So the next day Tom decides: “Fuck it, I’m gonna walk”. And just like that, he is committed to taking this long journey (roughly 1-2 months mentioned; there was no time scale shown in this movie to say otherwise).
So now he takes his son’s gear and his cremated remains with him as he sets to finish the walk and spread his remains through various parts of the trail. He steps out of the door of the hostel and starts his trek. As he walks off screen, dozens of people with bags walk by going the opposite direction as he was. Then you see grumpy ol’ Tom walking by behind them. Top notch comedy.
Throughout the journey, Tom meets a few different people: First would be Joost (Yorick van Wageningen). Joost is a man from Amsterdam. He is overweight and his main goal for his journey is to lose weight. It’s kind of hard to do such thing when all he does is smoke a joint and eat a shit ton of food at every stop. His light hearted personality keeps the humor going throughout the movie. Next up we have Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger). A bitchy and bitter Canadian on the first impression, and second impressions would only reinforce the first impressions. Her reason for the journey is to quit smoking, but there are some personal and spiritual resolutions that lie underneath. Finally, we have Jack from Ireland (James Nesbitt). Jack is a writer who has a serious deal of writers block. He joins the journey with the rest of the group and finds Tom’s story worth writing about (though Tom is too stubborn to let him take the story).
All throughout the movie, Tom sees his son on other people’s faces and behind trees, watching him. I get the symbolism that he is doing the journey for/with him, in a sense, but I can’t help but chuckle whenever I see Estevez on screen with his beard. Emilio Estevez is one of those guys who a beard just looks silly on. Other people laughed at the jokes Joost made, I laughed at this sight.
The Way started out very promising. It felt light hearted and it held my attention. Soon after we met all of our supporting cast and it went nowhere quick. It kept doing the same thing over and over again, but nothing ever changed. By definition, that’s insanity, but “insanity” is far too exciting of a word to describe this movie. When they have the chance to change something for the rest of the movie to make it more difficult or more emotional for the travelers, with the snap of the finger it’s all back to where it was before. It seemed Estevez was afraid to do something drastic with the story. I mean, at least make a movie about walking somewhat interesting. If I could rename this movie, I’d call it “Walking: The Movie” because that’s all they fucking do.
Now I don’t want to come off as angry, even though it FUCKING PISSES ME OFF! Just kidding. The movie has some decent qualities, like the characters, which were mostly likable. There were a couple that I didn’t enjoy, but I’m picky. They interacted well together and the dialogue was pretty decent. As much as they were different, they all came together to get through the long walk. I think the movie may have dragged on just a little too much. You could have pulled out a decent amount of walking and still got the same result, just in a shorter time.
Emilio Estevez does a decent job directing. I give him credit for some of the shots he captured, like the landscapes and monuments all throughout the path. It looked pretty good. Though, as I said before, his story lacks. That decent landscape shots can’t redeem the boring story.
Overall, I would say that The Way is average, maybe less. The characters and the look of the film are fine, but there’s nothing that is too engaging with it. I said it earlier that it seemed that Emilio Estevez was afraid to do anything too drastic with the story, which is the main reason why it didn’t sit well with me. Sure, it may be a little more realistic, but it’s a movie, spice it up a bit! I think this needs more action; a gun fight or a de-boweling, or maybe even a decapitation. For christ’s sake, somebody throw a pie! Maybe I’m asking for too much. Fuck it.
The Way – 6/10