Movie Review – The Way (2010)

Director: Emilio Estevez

Stars: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorik van Wageningen

Tom (Sheen) is golfing one day when he gets a call that his son, Daniel (Estevez) has died while attempting a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. While collecting the body he think back to his son’s life and decides to take the pilgrimage himself. On the way he encounters a number of weird and wonderful people, including Sarah (Unger), an acerbic Canadian who seems to have a disdain for, well, everything, Jack (Nesbitt), an exuberant Irish writer who sees everything as material for his craft, and Joost (van Wageningen), a kind Dutchman who shields some emotional pain.

The Way is a movie in which one can completely lose themselves. It’s paced perfectly to allow you to remain engaged throughout. The landscapes and scenery are beautiful and if your’e anything like me it will inspire deep feelings of wanderlust. The characters and situations that Tom encounters are funny and interesting, but there are also moments of high drama as well. The little pack he eventually forms are all different types of people but they’re interesting and endearing in their own way, although I think most people’s favourite will be Joost. As well as a story about the meaning of life, it also acts as a travelogue, as it shows the different places in which they stay.

I particularly liked the ending of the journey as it captured that sad feeling that occurs when you reach the point where you know you aren’t going to see the people around for a long time, maybe never.

I felt that Tom was a bit too gruff and reticent for most of the film and he could have opened up a little more. The film dropped the ball on the music too. There was a lot of Western music used, and while some of it fit in well other times it felt out of place, and some more local music would have better accentuated the atmosphere.

Aside from those criticisms I found it quite a wonderful movie with a lot of substance. It deals with some deep topics but it doesn’t feel heavy and it doesn’t drag out. I liked it a lot and like the characters in the movie, I was sad when the journey ended.


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