Movie review: The Way (+trailer)

By Peter Calder

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The Way starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Photo / Supplied
The Way starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Photo / Supplied

If you're planning to undertake one of the many long walks leading to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain that make up the Way of St James, don't use this film as a guidebook.

Its warm and fuzzy version is a nice stroll, punctuated by boozy lunches in sun-dappled olive groves.

Not surprising, perhaps: the script, by Estevez, was inspired by a trip his father (Sheen), and son took, following the pilgrimage route in a car - which is not the idea, really.

Sheen plays Tom Avery, an ophthalmologist who decides to complete the walk after his son Daniel (Estevez, who puts in appearances in flashback and as a hallucination) dies doing it.

This seems no great imposition. He never works up a sweat or removes his designer raincoat, much less gets blisters or sunburn. He does get caught in the rain, but his clothes dry on him in moments, as they tend to do in the movies.

Rather against his wishes, he is joined by a garrulous Dutch stoner (van Wageningen), a chain-smoking angry New York neurotic (Unger) and a wild and thirsty Irishman (Nesbitt).

They also meet some gypsies who have impish kids and make beautiful music, as they tend to do in the movies. If you're getting a whiff of cliche here, there is nothing wrong with your sense of smell.

It's strictly drama lite, but the scenery is beautiful.

Stars: 2.5/5
Cast: Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorick van Wageningen
Director: Emilio Estevez
Running time: 121 mins
Rating: PG (drug use, coarse language)
Verdict: Pilgrimage as cakewalk


- NZ Herald

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