The Way Back

"Very Good"

The Way Back Review


Based on real events that are outrageously inspiring, this epic-style movie is packed with emotion and adventure, although it also feels a little overlong and meandering, mainly due to the narrative itself.

In 1939 Poland, Janusz (Sturgess) is charged by the Soviets with spying and sent to a Siberian gulag. In the middle of the bitter winter, he and six other prisoners manage to escape: veteran American (Harris), hothead Russian criminal (Farrell), helpful comic (Bucur), artist (Potodean), nice-guy Latvian (Skarsgard) and night-blind youngster (Urzendowsky). The first 300 miles to Lake Baikal almost kills them, but they've only just begun the 4,000-mile trek to freedom in India. And they've also picked up a young Polish girl (Ronan).

Yes, the journey these rag-tag travellers take is remarkable, and the film devotes most screen-time to hardships they encounter along the way, from the icy Siberian countryside to the seemingly endless Gobi Desert. That anyone survived both of these is amazing, and they the Himalayas were still in front of them. Along the way they are offered some help from locals, but most of the time they are simply desperate for food and water.

These two basic needs crop up over and over again, of course, but filmmakers Weir and Clarke find ways to keep these repetitive sequences feeling fresh.

Even so, the long desert sequence vividly makes us feel that yawning endlessness. Fortunately, the character interaction is continually interesting; the cast is convincing and involving. And even if only the four big international stars get the chance to add much depth to their roles, the other four leads all have their moments.

As it progresses, it's impossible not to be inspired by these people and their tenacity in the face of unthinkable obstacles. Weir makes the most of the various settings, which are gorgeously photographed by Russell Boyd (in Bulgaria, Morocco, Australia and India). And he also draws strong emotion from the story. But in the end it feels a little bit too cinematic, as the true story has been heavily fictionalised to be more crowd-friendly. But then the source memoir, Slawomir Rawicz's The Long Walk, is also suspected of bending the truth.



The Way Back

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 133 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st January 2011

Box Office USA: $2.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $20.3M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Newmarket Films LLC

Production compaines: Exclusive Films, National Geographic Entertainment, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Monolith Films, On the Road, Point Blank Productions, Polish Film Institute

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 96 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Valka, Dejan Angelov as Andrei, as Zoran, as Mr. Smith, as Janusz, as Irena, as Khabarov, Alexandru Potocean as Tomasz, as Voss

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.