Monday, June 4, 2012

The Way. C+

I respect Emilio Estevez as a filmmaker because he has the ambition to be great. We saw that in Bobby, a well-intended but pretty terrible film about the Robert Kennedy assassination. Now he's gotten more personal with The Way, a passion-project starring his own dad, Martin Sheen about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The ambition is present once again, yet it's a little sad to see Estevez struggle the way he does with the material. Like Bobby, his intentions are good, but I think we can all agree Estevez lacks the talent to be taken seriously as a filmmaker. And that's a little sad, because he's clearly trying hard to not be remembered simply as the coach from those Mighty Ducks movies. So what's wrong with The Way? Well, a lot. The movie's quite a slog. It runs for two hours, feels like three, and never really offers a good reason to keep watching. Estevez does understand how to develop characters while steering clear of melodrama, but that doesn't excuse the conventional and completely boring way he tells the story. One could argue that the monotonous pacing is meant to emphasize the spiritual side of the journey, yet that seems more like an excuse to cover Estevez's inability to generate interest in the story. He uses plenty of comedy, but it's such a familiar brand that I only laughed a few times. He also fills the film with countless montages of the characters hiking to generic music. These scenes are nicely photographed of course, but they also indicate that Estevez doesn't really have much in his bag to keep the movie on its own two feet. Again, the intentions are good here, and the performance from Martin Sheen is admirable, but if this is Estevez career-project, then from now on the bar will be pretty low for him. 

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