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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sheen and Estevez Show "The Way" in This Wonderful New Film

There's a moment towards the end of The Way - the new film by Emilio Estevez starring his father, Martin Sheen - where no words are said but it's brilliant. Each of the four main characters looks at each other, having walked together for many kilometers, with this knowing glance and then a smile. It encapsulates so much, about traveling, about friendship, about taking chances and about living. Sheen does give an Oscar-caliber performance in the role of a father who must go to Spain to retrieve the ashes of his only child (his son played briefly by Estevez). It's a tough role because he must reflect the sadness that he feels, but we must also see a glint start to form in his eye - an alarm to the life that his son strived for. He decides to walk the El Camino de Santiago from France to Spain, finishing at Santiago de Compastela - all in honor of his son who had set off on the walk and was killed in an accident on the first day. The three foreigners that Sheen hooks up with on the way are all played with gusto and charm. Yorick van Wageningen as Joost does a fine job balancing zealousness with sympathy. Deborah Kara Unger plays the Maria Bello part - the beautiful 40-something woman - with mischief and a gradual awakening. And James Nesbitt proves a perfect choice for the Irish writer. This isn't quite Dorothy and company in Oz, but it does feel like a yellow brick road that they're traveling and they're all in search of something. I guess that's an age-old story. Who knew that Estevez had this kind of story in him. The beautiful Spanish scenery doesn't hurt either. And like the film Another Earth earlier this year, the very brief last scene here has all kinds of implications. Nicely done!

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