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

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.