The Way / Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

When Amazon recommended another video about a long-distance walk, it instantly became a High Priority on my Love Film Rental List.


The Way is a story written by and starring Emilio Estevez, who’s character decides to embark on a five-hundred-mile long pilgrimage during his time travelling around Europe. Following in the footsteps of St. James (aka. The Way of Santiago), he tragic loses his life and, back home in America, his father (played by real-life dad Martin Sheen) is faced with the burden of having to cross the globe in order to retrieve his son’s body and bring him home.

Tom Avery (played by Sheen) is a man who did not understand or agree with his Daniel’s (Estevez) intentions to flee an everyday life in the spirit of exploration and adventure. But as he arrives in France to meet with fate, he soon ends up walking The Way himself, in memory of his son.

I’m quite fortunate in that I know someone personally who has walked some part of The Way (there is more than one way to walk… The Way) and that may lead to something else I have planned for another post. This affair is not as intimate as the likes of Wild or Into the Wild and, if I’m being critical; for a trek that averages several hundred miles, it felt like they skipped through an awful lot along the way – which is understandable, when you need to keep the feature less than seven-days long. But I don’t think it was clearly explained how his Estevez’s character died either.

For people interested in long-distance walking and the exploration of foreign lands, I’d recommend this. It does lack the ‘awe’ of Wild and similar titles but it’s left a mark of inspiration upon me. I also found it quite the surprise to see a man of more than sixty-years taking to the pilgrimage without any prior training.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a film I’d never heard of; an obscure recommendation from one of Amazon’s regular e-mails. But it stars Tom Hanks and sounded quite intriguing.

Beginning around the time of 9/11 (which may be one explanation for the title), we’re soon following nine-year-old Oskar Schell, one-year after the devastating events. Setting off on a new adventure to finding the lock and owner to a mysterious key once in his father’s possession, we see a real-life adventure unfold. Without fantasy, we witness Oskar crossing the city in his quest for resolution. With that, we also witness some of the anxieties and psychological obstructions that threaten to cull his curiosity (another cue for the title, perhaps). I do enjoy films where the lead characters appear ‘real’ and believable.

There’s more to this story that I’m deliberately not telling you because I wasn’t aware of them beforehand and, although it takes place within the first quarter of the film, I found the experience was greater for having not read too much.

My favourite scene of them all involved a battle of oxymorons exchanged between Oskar and his father (Tom Hanks).

It’s an interesting film set within a city still living in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Worth a look, maybe but it’s not likely to be one I would buy for my collection.

Thanks for reading.

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