Thursday, December 08, 2011

Martin Sheen Shines in THE WAY

THE WAY (Dir. Emilio Estevez, 2010)

At The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen a few months back, comedian Jeff Ross joked: “Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez said that they would’ve been here tonight, but they had a family obligation.”

Consider Estevez's THE WAY to be that obligation.

For his fifth film as director, Estevez recruits his father Sheen to play a widowed opthamologist who decides to walks the Camino de Santiago to honor his son (played in flashbacks and apparitions by Estevez), who died while hiking the same route.

The stodgy stern Sheen is a man of few words who doesn’t share his grief or reasoning with the group of folks he befriends on the pilgrimage.

Deborah Kara Unger as a sardonic divorcée from Canada, Yorick van Wageningen as an over-eating Dutchman, and James Nesbitt as a writer working on a book about the historic walk, are Sheen’s fellow travelers.

Despite such iconic work in such classics as BADLANDS and APOCALYPSE NOW, as well as his stint as President Barlett on The West Wing, Sheen has often been neglected as an actor.

His Oscar worthy performance here should change that. Sheen’s gruff perserverance carries the film and makes you feel as if you are on the journey with him. Sheen, who can't help but bring the mighty gravitas that actually made me wish the man was the President during the George W. Bush era, proves that you can never be too old to have an adventure. You don't need any Tiger Juice either to get you going.

Although there's some existential cheesiness in the dialogue and it’s overly conventional in its construction, Estevez, who wrote the screenplay based in part on the book "Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route" by Jack Hitt, has earnestly and effectively made a moving travelogue that both pays tribute equally to an ancient tradition, and a grand old actor in his autumn years.

Fancy catching up on some of Martin Sheen's back catalogue? Rent titles including The West Wing, Catch Me if You Can and Apocalypse Now with LOVEFiLM. You can also stream movies to your computer, PS3, Xbox and even internet enabled TV!

More later...

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