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  • The Way Back: Special Edition + DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Including 'The Making' & Interviews (2 Disc Set) [DVD]
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The Way Back: Special Edition + DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Including 'The Making' & Interviews (2 Disc Set) [DVD]


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The Way Back: Special Edition + DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Including 'The Making' & Interviews (2 Disc Set) [DVD] + The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
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Product details

  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Dragos Bucu
  • Directors: Peter Weir
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00510MWG4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,548 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

The Way Back is the critically acclaimed new release from renowned director Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show), starring Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Mark Strong and Saoirse Ronan. Inspired by an incredible true story, this epic film of survival against-the-odds tells the story of a group of seven prisoners who escaped from a Soviet gulag in Stalin-era Russia and walked over 4,000 miles across some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world, crossing the Siberian Arctic, the Gobi desert and the Himalayas before finally arriving in British-ruled India.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 53 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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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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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a film about endurance in pretty dismal circumstances so if you are seeking laughs, thrills or excitement then you are going to be sorely disappointed. Escaping from a Soviet Gulag the heroes of this piece have to march through taiga, desert, mountain and just about everything in between; and they do so not by ingenious device or cunning plan but by putting one foot in front of the other for 4000 miles. I found it a stirring tale but then I liked moor-running at School so am probably deranged.

There has been some excitement about whether the story is true (it is based on Slavomir Rawicz's book): it didn't seem necessary to me that it was or was not true, but be warned if this does matter to you you may want to consider before watching. There is also some concern (sometimes by the same critics) that the central role is not more charismatic. This is however a film about walking which is of its very nature a slow and steady form of movement. It does not require a John Rambo or James Bond.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Palmer on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the film but not a patch on the book which I couldn't put down and left me near to tears at the end. Will watch it again now that I have read the book but I feel a lot of the original story was not covered.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DB on 6 Jun. 2011
Format: DVD
Slavomir Rawicz's book "The Long Walk" (on which the film is based) works, and works well, because it purports to be true (although its veracity is disputed). It doesn't try to be a work of fiction - no contrived drama, no parables on the human condition. So why fictionalise it? Or if you are going to, why not do it properly? Instead Peter Weir has largely stuck to the story but has changed most of the names (except for "Mr Smith" which is probably not the character's true name anyway). And he has completely changed one character - Colin Farrell's Russian gangster is very well played and certainly adds to the drama, but Rawicz would definitely not have accepted such a companion.

Having said all that, I enjoyed the film. The acting is pretty good and it is superbly shot - but even there I think Weir missed a trick by cutting out the Himalayan scenes in the story. If he thought the film was long enough already he could have seriously pruned the section in the Siberian forests.

So read the book first, then watch the film and then read the Wikipedia entry on Slavomir Rawicz.
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