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Way, The

3/10

Stars: Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, Yorick Van Wageningen, James Nesbitt, Tchéky Karyo, Angela Molina, Carlos Leal, Simón Andreu, Eusebio Lázaro, Antonio Gil, Spencer Garrett

Director: Emilio Estevez

If it’s sincerity that you’re after, then you’re in luck with this long, long 800 km cinematic footslog along the pilgrimage known as The Way of St James Santiago, along which Sheen walks carrying the ashes of his son who was killed in the Pyrenees.

Doctor Sheen exudes sincerity by the gallon, predominantly indicated by the expression of someone suffering from chronic constipation but which he and his writer-director-producer son Estevez (obviously the Hollywood saying “The son also rises” applies here and Estevez adds to his chores by appearing on screen as Sheen’s late son) clearly believe is redolent with suffering and, of course, earnestness. Despite his adopted surname, Sheen hardly shines in his no doubt seriously intended but schematic role, which all too often is upstaged by the attractively photographed (Juan Miguel Azpiroz) Spanish locations accompanying his walk from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in the Northwest of Spain.

Sheen Sr is joined in his trek by Dutchman Van Wageningen, Canadian Unger and blocked writer Nesbitt (whose new hair is rather more impressive than his performance), all of them like Sheen seeking a meaning to their lives and all of them suffering from underwritten and unconvincing roles. Hopefully they found it. I didn’t.

The Way has been described as “inspirational”. Maybe it is. Regrettably I was inspired towards slumber.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour.
128 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 May 2011