Give a film wide shots of beautiful landscape and it is hard to go wrong. The most marvellous thing about The Way for me was the inspiration to go to Spain, to walk El Camino de Santiago (the pilgrim’s walk) to laugh, to love, to eat, to drink, to live. It also had Martin Sheen, who I adore, playing Tom and also Emilio Estevez at his goofy, grinning best, as Tom’s son, Daniel. Emilio directed the film, and I can’t help thinking that that is the main reason that a big name like Sheen would be on such a small production.
The Way is a gentle film, exploring the journey of a grieving father as he travels the pilgrim’s walk in Spain.
It’s not an in-depth study. Several of the characters feel incomplete and superficial, lacking the depth of reality, although this did mean that when Estevez hit the mark, it was strong. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite hit the mark all that often. A lot of the poignant moments were veering far too close to cheesy to cause an emotional reaction.
Along Tom’s journey, he meets several characters who, against his and sometimes, their will, they end up travelling together. It had a bit of a Wizard of Oz feel, even to the point that the large Dutchman seemed quite lionish, and the spindly smoking Canadian had straw-like hair. At times, this seemed unlikely, and when they eventually get a night in a good hotel, the coming together of the group seemed forced and false. But despite the holes in the story and the under-developed characters, I quite liked this film.
See this if you have been to Spain, or if you’d like to. Enjoy the views. Be inspired. Gently.