Star rating – 5/10
What is obviously a labour of love for Martin Sheen and his real life son Emilio Estevez, unfortunately turns out to be just a labour for the audience. Estevez has written, directed, and stars in the story of a father who accidentally finds himself a pilgrim in a barren land following the death of his only son.
Sheen is a Californian doctor, and father, and Estevez is his son, who appears in flashback as his father walks the pilgrim way to Camino de Santiago through France and Spain, to complete the journey his son never got to, as he has died on route. What might have been a beautiful and moving road movie turns out to be little more than an aggravation.
As Sheen completes his son’s unfinished spiritual business, he encounters other pilgrims, who seem to get under his skin more than provide him with good company, as he clearly wants to be alone. Sadly the dialogue between the pilgrims is very clunky, and the voyage of self discovery is so overtly sign posted that it loses any significance. Indeed, James Nesbitt’s over the top turn as a wandering Irish author is incredibly annoying.
The film fails to capture the beauty of the countryside, and lacks the deftness of touch that is needed to make it really work. Sheen is still a great actor though, although sadly this is far from a great film. I can’t help thinking that Estevez got too up close and personal to a project that is clearly close to his heart and well intentioned, but is destined to be little more than a mild DVD format piece of entertainment.