One of the cinematic highlights of 2011 doesn’t feature 3D, nor does Will Ferrell pop out of a birthday cake in the third reel, and mercifullly, the Jonas Brothers didn’t compose the score; nope Emilio Estevez’s “The Way” is pure undiluted story – complete with characters that don’t go switching into robots and tanks. The flick, a low-budget film that Estevez cast father Martin Sheen in the lead role, is the poignant, heart-yankin’ yarn of an American doctor (Sheen) who walks the famous Camino De Santiago pilgrimage in France after his son (Estevez) was killed while making the same journey. Part James L.Brooks film, part Wim Wenders, Estevez’s “Way” is a welcome variety box, encompassing as many teary moments as it does warmth and humour. Oh, and it’s also quite a lovely postcard. Estevez Jr is smiling this morning, with news of a plum distribution deal for his film.
Estevez and Elixir Films’ David Alexanian announced Thursday they have partnered with John Sloss and Bart Walker’s Producers Distribution Agency and Trevor Drinkwater’s ARC Entertainment to release the film on Oct. 7. “The Way”, which recently screened in the UK, will have an exclusive run in AMC theatres before opening wider later on. From October 14, the flick will unspool within 15 markets and then a week later, October 21, will invade 500 screens across the country.
“‘The Way’ is the kind of film that does not come around often,” Sloss said in a statement. “It is an extremely moving film that is also wholly entertaining. It elicits a strong emotional response from people of all faiths and from people who just appreciate the experience of being uplifted and inspired by a motion picture. I am proud to have worked with Emilio, David and Trevor to assemble a terrific team who will give this film the innovative and aggressive release it deserves.”
Estevez, whose previous film “Bobby” scored him quite a few deep-pocketed fans outside of the states (mainly in Europe), compares his film to, well, one you wouldn’t think possible.
“I did know that the story was, in its own way, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz”, the writer/director/actor told us earlier this year. “You know, whether the person I was trying to sell it to was able to wrap their mind around that or not was another story. But I said that the themes we’re dealing with in this film are universal. It’s about loss. It’s about grief. It’s about family and faith and community. And I have always believed that there would be an audience for this movie because these are the things that we have gotten so far away from.” (You can read more of my interview with Mr Estevez here).
“The Way” is indeed a terrific movie; Estevez proves once again (after the terrific RFK pic “Bobby”) that he’s quite the director, and this time, offers up a real showcase role for dad Sheen.