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Way Back [Blu-ray] [2010] [US Import]

Jim Sturgess , Ed Harris , Peter Weir    Blu-ray
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Dragos Bucur, Alexandru Potocean
  • Directors: Peter Weir
  • Writers: Peter Weir, Keith R. Clarke, Slavomir Rawicz
  • Producers: Adam Leipzig, Ahmed Abounouom, Alexander Yves Brunner, Dileep Singh Rathore
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 19 April 2011
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004C45AX2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,475 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way back 9 April 2012
By David Rowland TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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Elements of this film are stunning (particularly the landscape photography) but why, oh why, did Peter Weir - who wrote the screenplay as well as directing the film - have to change so much from Slavomir Rawicz's excellent book? Yes, the basic story line is the same - a group of prisoners escaping from a Siberian labour camp and walking all the way to India - but there are so many little changes (names, people's backgrounds, etc) that serve no 'artistic' or other purpose whatsoever that by the end I was annoyed rather than awed.

The film does capture some things better than the book - especially the savage beauty and harshness of the terrains they crossed - but the changes are, I think, disrepectful to the memory of the men (and woman) who actually made this journey in 1941 / 1942. The film also fails, compared to the book, to give a real sense of the distance covered, the time the journey took, the privations the escapees had to suffer and the extraordinary kindnesses that they were met with, especially in Tibet.

I appreciate that some people prefer films to books (and that others don't like reading at all!) - to these people I would say, 'Watch the film'. To all others I would definitely say, 'Read the book' as it is much better.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shrunken 23 Jan 2011
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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Cuban Heel VINE VOICE
I wanted to see this film for a while as I caught a trailer for it and thought it looked great. I finally got to watch it the other day and I enjoyed it, it was pretty good. It was well acted and had an authentic feel to it. Was it as good as I expected? Well, not quite.

I agree with some of the other comments that the story lacked a little bit of a personal element which stopped me being as gripped as I might have been. The beginning was a little bit choppy and if you let your attention wander slightly you might have missed some of the details that made more sense later. It felt like a few scenes were edited to bring the length of the movie down and it didn't flow quite as well as you'd expect. And I wasn't that keen on the ending. Not the actual ending itself, but the montage bit which suggests the main character keeps on walking (metaphorically) until the end of the cold war.

Overall it was a decent film. Good enough, but falling just short of being really good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not bad
Published 8 days ago by Mr E Paul
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
An ok film
Published 11 days ago by John V. Ewart
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it...
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... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Matthew Munroe
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful true story
Kindness and love win the day as this story unfolds against the harsh backdrop of wrongful arrest, torture, betrayal, imprisonment and the wilderness walk to freedom. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. Butcher
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film but the book was better
It's one of those things...if you read the book first you'll always be disappointed with the film. They always leave so much out. Read more
Published 4 months ago by emma
3.0 out of 5 stars My precious
Lord of the Rings without a ring!! Tolkien esque but lacking Orcs, Wizards, Elves and Hobbits. Recommended for ramblers and hikers!
Published 4 months ago by S B GYNN
3.0 out of 5 stars good subject
this film is missing something, the basis of the story is worth telling but the film has been rushed and ends up as a bit part documentary
Published 4 months ago by gordy
4.0 out of 5 stars A must watch
The most fantastic film, perfectly observed and acted. An absolute must watch film for anyone who has read the compelling book "The long walk"
Published 5 months ago by Mel
1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing
It had a scratch accrosss it and was completely unüplayable.We had read the book of this film the long walk back in the 60,s and sitting down to watch the filf was supposed to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by paul mark rossiter
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way Back DVD
This is a very well produced copy of one of my favourite films. I am very glad to add it to my collection and at such a reasonable price.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. R. Anthony
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