Bought on a whim,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Way [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst I had heard of the film, I knew nothing about it apart from a recommendation from 'Pendragon' on one of the Amazon religion forums. On a whim, but primarily on the basis of Pendragon's commendation, I bought it. I am glad that I did.
The film is visually stunning, and follows the path of the grieving father (Martin Sheen) along the Camino de Santiago, retracing the steps of, and completing the pilgrimage of, his dead son. Sheen's performance is understated and unmelodramatic, and he convincingly carries off his own personal pilgrimage, as he transforms from a very self-contained individual into someone who is much more open to those he meets along the way. In that sense, 'The Way' provides a powerful analogy to the way we may choose to live our lives - and Sheen's highly engaging interview in the 'Extras' section, reinforces how he and his (real) son, Emilio Estevez, regarded the focus of the film.
A few very minor criticisms. The flashbacks within the film don't, I think, adequately explain the fracturing of the relationship between father and son prior to the son's departure on his pilgrimage. It feels as if the makers have skated rather rapidly over this element in order to get to the main business of the pilgrimage itself, and this weakens the redemptive aspect to Sheen's determination to follow 'The Way' on behalf of his son. Another point that does not quite ring true is when the father scatters the balance of his son's ashes when he gets to Muros on the coast - given that he has significantly extended his journey, well past the 'normal' destination of pilgrims, it is odd that he would simply dump the ashes on the rocks and not scatter them in the sea, which would (given the visual symbolism) be much more meaningful.
On a more positive note, I found the way in which the four main characters, when responding to questioning, trivialise their reasons for making the arduous journey to Santiago de Compostela, very true to life indeed - especially so after their own individual experiences of transcendence.
But these are minor quibbles. This is a lovely, thoughtful film, and the acting is, throughout, extremely competent, and supportive of the overall thrust of the plot. Well worth a second viewing. And the interview with Martin Sheen is great, providing some helpful insights into the man and his motivations.