Customer Review

98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and uplifting film from the Sheen family, 19 July 2011
This review is from: The Way [DVD] (DVD)
This could have been a sloppily sentimental, mawkish Hollywood movie. Or it could have been a deeply depressing European art-house film full of bitter regret. Instead, `The Way' veers to neither extreme and treads a careful path somewhere in between.
`The Way' examines the nature of pilgrimage, the father-son bond, interaction between strangers, the reality of loss and how different people deal with it, and how new friendships can develop from the most harsh moments in life. The first act is extremely moving, as Martin Sheen's character struggles to cope with his son's sudden death. The father is wrenched from his comfortable middle-class life in suburban American, hurled into motion by the news that his wayward 30-something son has died while undertaking an extreme pilgrimage on foot across 500 miles of Spanish mountains.
From then, the rural landscape becomes one of the central characters in the film; harsh, beautiful, threatening, supportive - and sensitively captured and revealed in a series of segments which follow Sheen's footsteps through rain, shine and suffering. He's joined by other pilgrims on the trail and encounters a cross-section of humanity at way-stations along the route.
`The Way' isn't entirely free of cultural stereotypes, So the Dutch pilgrim carries half a pharmacy of recreational chemicals around with him; the Irish writer is a fast-talking braggart; the gypsies dance by firelight and lean toward light-fingered habits but underneath are a sensitive, honourable people, and so on. But the Americans laugh at themselves, and the grieving father isn't portrayed as a kind of saint; his feet are made of clay, too. And he's man enough to admit it.

At the final resolution, `The Way' offers an affirmation of lives worth living, of the value of the journey for itself rather than mere dashing to a destination. It captures several moments of startling sorrow, and Sheen's performance should not be missed. But this is not a po-faced movie about religion, nor a self-indulgent dirge. There are plenty of lighter moments of laughter (and James Nesbitt gets one of the best introductory speeches we'd heard in a long while).
The delicate scenes between (real life) father and son Sheen and director Estevez are extremely poignant, too. They perfectly capture the intimate yet distant relationship between the generations.
Definitely a film not to miss.

9/10
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jul 2011 15:24:57 BDT
godzilla78 says:
James Nesbitt's introduction was quite something. I'm surprised he didn't run out of breath!

Posted on 7 Aug 2011 10:54:58 BDT
Fergal Woods says:
How can you review a DVD that hasn't been released yet. Are there extra scenes, are there interviews with actors and directors or information on the Camino itself ? I've seen the movie and agree with what you say and I'm just home for 2 days since my 2nd Camino but to me this "REVIEW" smacks of opportunism to get in ahead of the possee and pick up some more cheap points.

Posted on 10 Nov 2011 11:50:58 GMT
Bob Salter says:
Well said Fergal. You have hit the nail on the head. She has a habit of doing this, which is simply about earning cheap points. I see a number of people have not found your comments helpful. More fool them! I find so often when I review a DVD that has only just been released, that there are often many opportunist reviews out long before. She is far from the only one. The sad thing is it is clearly effective!
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