Saturday, April 28, 2012

The way along the Camino

Arriving early, I headed for a seat in the middle of the back row of Chauvel's second upstairs cinema for the early afternoon session. My jaw dropped as people streamed in. I know it is the first week of release for this Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez film, but there must have been one hundred people in the cinema by the time the lights dimmed. It did get a good review from Paul Byres in the SMH on Thursday. And yes, the audience was overwhelmingly my age, but equally divided male/female.

Whilst enjoying the film, it is not a great film. Yes, it is an indie film and I like to support any indie-film from the USA, in preference to big-budget block-busters. The story was satisfying and not condescending. A couple of times it verged on maudlin and predictable. Well, I guess it was always predictable, but that is not always a bad thing. It is a film about people living their life. There are no gangsters, a smidgin of drugs, no language, and no sex. Which I guess, restricts its audience somewhat.

Having read somewhere that Estevez claims this as a remake of 'The Wizard of Oz', and that Sheen is a committed Roman Catholic, I expected to have religion shoved down my throat. Most certainly it was there. But not in the least offensively so. At one stage Tom (Sheen) meets a priest wearing a yamulka (to protect his head scared by surgery). The priest offers Tom rosary, which Tom returns later saying if was 'effective'. The Irishman (Jack) with writers' block initially refuses to go into a the cathedral at the end of the journey, but later relents and is seen wracked with silent sobs. It required no explanation; the audience brings its own feelings and thoughts to this scene. Both the Dutchman and the Canadian woman were inadequately fleshed out until late in the film. Joost says he is 'doing the camino' because he wants to lose weight. He eventually concedes that his wife refuses to have sex with him because of his weight. And so he walks the camino ... not very convincing. The Canadian woman (Sarah) was in a relationship when she agreed to have a fetus aborted to please her partner. This has scared her. However, there is an entire scene devoted to her hearing her daughter's voice ... not very convincing. The Irishman is the most convincing. The scene in which he is introduced is cringe-worthy, but he grows on one because we see him working his way through issues. He takes notes, and asks questions. The scene with the credit card is excellent, both parts of it.

And Sheen? I am a fan, so take this with a grain of salt, if you are so inclined. He got angry, he was sarcastic, tears flowed, he was pensive. But, all in all, it was a bit like watching Martin Sheen's home movie of walking the Camino. That sounds like a negative, and I guess so. However, I enjoyed the film, even though at the 2/3 point I got bored feeling that it was dragging. But I enjoyed the characters that joined along the way. I enjoyed meeting the 'locals', and I especially enjoyed the landscape and the weather.

Estevez dedicated the film to his grandfather, Francisco, who emigrated from Galicia to America many decades ago. So the family voice is quasi-european. I think the film might have been more enjoyable (for me) had it been made by european resident film-makers.


brattcat said...

i think maybe i'll take a pass. were you shooting in the movie theater?

Julie said...

Hah! No, not at all. Although my camera was in the backpack at my feet.

On this blog, I do not restrict myself to my own photos. I sourced all these from the web which took forever. There was one particular shot of a long and winding road which I was looking for, but could never copy.

Yes, my review was hardly a recommendation, was it? I guess, in summary, it had a heart but no punch.

Kay L. Davies said...

I think we will (as we usually do these days) wait to see it on TV. I like Martin Sheen but have seen more of his son Charlie than of Emilio, so I'd like to see this some day.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I'd like to walk the Camino and saw pilgrims at various points along the route in N. Spain. Though not religious myself, there is something compelling about those who will walk the pilgrim route. I imagine you are given time to ponder the thins you must at this point in your life. But I always wonder if I'm too old to start these kinds of journeys. As for the movie, we'll leave it to NetFlix.

Napoleon Sipalay Jr. OP said...

I saw the movie twice, I am struck with the notion of "you don't choose a life, you live one." I supposed this is a good question to ask oneself after watching this film.