The Way Back 2010

Amazon Instant Video

Available in HD
(153) IMDb 7.3/10

Inspired by a true story, seven prisoners escaped from a Soviet gulag and walked 4000 miles to India. As they cross the Siberian Arctic, Gobi Desert and the Himalayas they face the elements, lack of food and water and the dilemma of when to leave someone behind.

Starring:
Colin Farrell,Dejan Angelov
Runtime:
2 hours, 7 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Way Back

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure, Historical
Director Peter Weir
Starring Colin Farrell, Dejan Angelov
Supporting actors Yordan Bikov, Dragos Bucur, Ed Harris
Studio Entertainment One
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By David Rowland TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 April 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Many years ago I travelled by train along a stretch of the Trans-Siberian Railway from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk on the southern shore of Lake Baykal not long after reading Slavomir Rawicz's book "The Long Walk" and I vividly remember that Siberia was a region of endless space, where there were no signs of human habitation for hours on end and vast dense pine forests stretched from horizon to horizon for hundreds of miles. I tried to picture what it must have been like for a small party of people with hardly any food or suitable clothing walking across this region for months on end in the middle of winter in temperatures up to minus 30 degrees below zero and then walking through the scorching heat of the Gobi Desert and climbing over the huge peaks of the Himalayas. It is scarcely comprehensible that a few men did manage to escape this way from Russia's Gulags and eventually reach freedom.

Peter Weir's magnificent, enthralling and moving film tells the story of a group of prisoners from a Russian prison camp north of Lake Baykal who escaped and walked south for 4,000 miles across Siberia, Mongolia, China and Tibet and the survivors of the journey eventually reached India.

The authenticity of Rawicz's account has been widely questioned but there is no doubt that a few Poles and others did manage to escape and reach freedom in this way and some joined the free Polish forces and fought against the German's who ironically were fighting the Russians.

It was these same Russians who had condemned thousands of Poles and others to long stretches in the Gulags on trumped up charges and when the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, it suited the Russians to release many Poles from the camps to fight alongside them against the Nazis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BrownPolar on 17 Mar. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
From Peter Weir, one of the great masters of modern cinema, comes this epic, moving and inspirational film about a motley group of prisoners who escape from one of Stalin’s brutal, Siberian gulags in the 1940‘s. Based on the book, ‘The Long Walk’ by Slawomir Rawicz, which is inspired by true events, the film recounts the arduous trek the group undertakes for freedom, through thousands of miles of unforgiving wilderness and hostile territories, first across Siberian tundra, then across Mongolian desert and ultimately along Himalayas to finally reach safety in Northern India.

This is a truly memorable and life-affirming portrait of human spirit and resilience against impossible odds and of heart-warming camaraderie under insufferable conditions, and therefore is a film that everyone should see.

The Way Back feels as long as the arduous journey that it depicts, but there is not a single dull moment throughout. Beautifully shot in some of the most breathtaking locations on the planet and directed with ease and panache that only a master of his craft could muster, this is a commendable achievement in the history of cinema. Having said that, the performances are patchy at times, although Ed Harris delivers a commanding and anchoring performance once again. Similarly, the score, though effective in part, fails to thematically harmonise with the story as a whole. These flaws unfortunately keep the film from achieving the status of a masterpiece.

An unforgettable moment in the film is the death of Irena (Saoirse Ronan) due to exhaustion and dehydration in the Mongolian desert. A quiet and sobering moment without music, it is one of the most sublime film sequences I have ever seen.

BrownPolar
July 2011
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Matthew Munroe on 9 April 2014
Format: DVD
Having read the excellent book "The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz (a fantastic account of hardship, pain, suffering and death and a phenomenal escape from the tyranny of Soviet Russia) I decided to give the film a go. I will admit I did not start it with the highest of expectations, but my doubts were more an proved. I will not go into to much detail, I don't want to spoil the amazing story for anyone. But I will say that there are very few points at which this film resembles the book it is based on. The number of characters, the start of their horrendous trial and the end point of their desperate struggle for survival match those in the true story of the book. Everything else seems to be pure, Hollywood fabrication. Not only is that disappointing for any cinema goer who happens to have read the book, but I feel it is also immensely damaging to the reputation of the brave and courageous men who made this journey all those years ago and lost so many years of their young lives.

If you find he subject interesting (as I do) and want to investigate further, read the book. Or if you do want a good film in the same vein and don't mind relying on subtitles, go for "As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me". The film follows the book almost perfectly.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD
Weir makes no claims to this story - about escapees from a Siberian gulag, and their 4,000-mile trek over the Himalayas - being true as he tells it. So it's fitting that the chameleonic craftsman has created something almost entirely unambiguous: none of Master and Commander's moral tug-of-war; none of the fable-like metaphor of The Truman Show; none of the ghostly near-surrealism of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The performances are very fine across the board. Farrell (as violent gang-leader Valka) and Harris (as the grizzled American Mr Smith) stand out particularly. Like Robert Duvall or Michael Caine, Harris has developed a face marked with history, etched by happiness and hardship. Like all the players, they enjoy a solid, unfussy script, and hurl themselves into native tongue with admirable vigour.

My main issue with the film is probably lying on the cutting room floor. The work of Terrence Malick, John Hillcoat, Andrew Dominik et al shows that there are fine visionary, worldly, painterly directors out there producing work that is both crowd-pleasing and patient. The quality and relevance of the scenes in The Way Back are not in question - so why do so many of them feel truncated, and so hurried? For the escape itself to burst out of nothing makes sense as this could be argued to mirror the sudden confusion of the escapees and the guards. But too many sequences thereafter feel cursory, silencing their own reverberations. Too many shots of the vastness of this chilly hemisphere are all too brief, stealing away that vital sense of dismal isolation.

Perhaps this was intentional. Perhaps Weir wanted to focus on the brutal close-up, rather than the romantic long shot. But if this is at the expense of the expanse, then I feel it does a disservice to the magnificence of the 4,000-mile task, and we're left with something that feels just a bit too small.
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