"The Way" directed by Emilio Estevez in 2010, starring Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick van Wageningen, James Nesbitt
Four years after his impressive ensemble biopic Bobby screened at the Festival, actor-director Emilio Estevez returns with another ambitious drama that also features his father, Martin Sheen.
The Way is a touching film about the testy yet unbreakable bond between father and son, as well as the supportive, familial connections that can form among strangers.
Tom (Sheen), an American ophthalmologist, is informed that his son (Estevez) has been killed in a freak accident on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James, in the northwest of Spain. Upon arriving in France to collect his son’s remains and return to the United States, Tom is hit with a profound sense of sadness and quickly changes his plans. Equipped with his deceased son’s guidebook and backpack, he embarks on the 800km pilgrimage from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in an attempt to honour his son’s memory by finishing what he had started.
Along the way, Tom encounters several eccentric travellers, each with their varied motivations: a gregarious Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen) wants to lose weight, a Canadian woman (Deborah Kara Unger) hopes to quit her addiction to cigarettes, an Irish author (James Nesbitt) struggling to write a travel book. Their apparent weaknesses frustrate the stoic and determined Tom, yet the farther they travel together the more they come to form a surrogate family unit and support each other through their various tribulations.
Set against gorgeous vistas of France and Spain, The Way, like all great road trip movies, depicts how travelling through an unknown land can lead to greater self-knowledge and understanding. A moving and potent character study buoyed by a great soundtrack and an immensely likable cast, The Way is a journey of self-discovery that follows four very different people as they learn to better love themselves and each other.
MARTIN SHEEN: It's the most fun, you know. With The Way, having my son write it, direct it and star alongside me in, playing my character's son, that's just perfection to me. It doesn't get any better than that for me.
Is it not a little difficult, taking direction from your own offspring?
Yeah, there were times when I struggled with that a little. My sense memories would kick in, and I didn't think my son should be telling me what to do [laughs]. But I adore him. A reporter once asked me about Emilio, and I said, ‘Oh, I have known him all of my life'. And the guy said, ‘Now, you mean you've known him all of his life'.
And I said, ‘No, no, when he arrived, I was 21, and I thought, ah, he's the guy I've been waiting for all this time. He's arrived!'. I just thought of him as a companion, as a little brother really, and that's the way our relationship has been all our lives. Source: www.movies.ie