16/February/2012 03:12 PM
“The Way” is a way better movie than you would imagine from a director who was once a Brat Packer whose most famous character admitted to taping “Larry Lester's buns together” in “The Breakfast Club.” It’s also a family affair with Emilio Estevez directing his father Martin Sheen in the lead role.
Sheen plays Tom, a complacent optometrist whose adult son (Estevez) is killed in a freak accident while walking El camino de Santiago from France to Spain. After collecting his son’s ashes in France Tom decides to continue his son’s journey and walk the 800 plus km pilgrimage.
What begins as a physical trek turns into a spiritual journey as he spreads his son’s ashes and forms a small family of fellow travelers (Yorick van Wageningen, Deborah Kara Unger and James Nesbitt) before reaching his goal of seeing the burial site of the remains of the apostle
Saint James at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain.
“The Way” is a road movie. Not the Bob and Bing kind of thing where people burst into song and Dorothy Lamour does the samba, but a movie that really is about the journey and the lessons learned along the way.
Estevez has made a thoughtful film with beautiful scenery, complex characters and just a few too many walking montages. The characters walk and walk, which is fine because mostly they are going somewhere both physically and mentally, but fewer steps might have made for a tighter film.
Estevez allows the story to breath, but sometimes, like the hikers themselves, the story breathes a little too heavily. There aren’t many lighthearted moments here and Sheen brings dignity and gravitas to his role, but clearly several moments meant to tug at the hearty strings fall flat.
“The Way” is a heartfelt and interesting film, that occasionally over reaches but succeeds in telling a life affirming story.
Martha Marcy May Marlene: 4 STARS
No, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” isn’t about four alliteratively named sisters, it’s a psychological thriller about a young woman suffering from delusions and paranoia after escaping from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains and returning to her family and normal life. Her real name is Martha, Marcy May is her cult name and Marlene is a cult code name.
This chilling drama is a showcase for the talents of its star Elizabeth Olsen. She has older, more famous twin sisters, but the kid stuff that made her sibling’s billionaires has been left behind. Instead she plays a damaged woman in a serious film. Her spiritual journey has come to an end and now she must begin a dangerous physical journey to get away from her captors.
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” feels like a horror film without any of the hallmarks of the genre. It has atmosphere and paranoia to burn, but it is the haunted look on Olsen’s face that sells the movie and marks her arrival as a serious actress.