Blu-ray Review “The Way”

Directed by: Emilio Estevez
Starring: Martin Sheen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorick van Wageningen, Emilio Estevez
Distributed by: Arc Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 121 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I originally heard of this film, I thought Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, how can they go wrong? I was very impressed. Emilio Estevez really knows what he is doing behind the camera in his fifth directorial attempt. Martin Sheen is just fantastic in the role and really gives it his all. The story is slow moving but aims with a purpose and delivers full on. Also notable performance is Yorick van Wageningen, who would be known better as the Lisbeth’s abusive guardian in US “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. If only they could have made those painful spots for AMC theaters better, maybe more people would have seen this film. It is a very emotional journey with great direction and even better acting.

The film follows Thomas Avery on his journey to France, following the death of his son who died while walking the Camino de Santiago. His son was exploring Europe and attempting to complete a walk called the “Way of St. James”, which is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. When Thomas goes to retrieve his son’s body, he decided to complete the walk in tribute to his son. Along the way he meets a few friends, who assist him in his grieving process during his journey.

The Blu-ray presentation is decent, though nothing special. The video should have taken advantage of the beautiful locations in Europe but since the film was shot on 16mm film, it is good not underwhelming. Although, Estevez has said that was the focus since though the film is a character piece. The sound is impressive boasting a nice DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and works with Tyler Bates’ amazing score.

The special features included on the release are very impressive for an independent feature. If you enjoyed the film, there an interesting commentary from Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez and producer David Alexanian. The primary focus is on the location shoot and its challenges. There are three featurettes are short but worth checking out. The first is called “Camino Americana: Taking The Way on the Road”, which focuses on the the cross-country bus tour to promote the movie. “Pilgrimage: Behind the Camera” it is a quick behind-the-scenes look from the film. “Father and Son: Uncovering the Characters” is an interview with father and son Sheen and Estevez talking about the film. Lastly the last feature is called “Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son—A Dual Memoir by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez”, which promotes an upcoming book by Sheen and Estevez.

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