Way Back [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) and Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges) star in this epic saga of survival from six-time Oscar-nominee Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World). Inspired by an incredible true story, THE WAY BACK begins in 1940 when seven prisoners attempt the impossible: escape from a brutal Siberian gulag. Thus begins a treacherous 4,500-mile trek to freedom across the world's most merciless landscapes. They have little food and few supplies. They don't know or trust each other. But together, they must withstand nature at its most extreme. Their humanity is further tested when they meet a teenage runaway who begs to join them on their quest.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
There is a controversy as to who actually made the journey, however, Australian director Peter Weir, celebrated for contemporary classics such as `Dead Poets Society' and `The Truman Show', decided the account deserved filming. "As a feat of endurance and courage and the tenacity of human beings to survive, I thought it was superb. It's about the struggle that all of us have to survive every day. The struggle is on an epic scale, but survival is at the heart of it, and what keeps you going with all the difficulties and pain of life and the bad luck. As a director, I asked, `Does it stay with you enough to want to pursue it as a film?' And this was the case."
"I hope `The Long Walk' will remain as a memorial to all those who live and die for freedom, and for all those who for many reasons could not speak for themselves."(Slavomir Rawicz)
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of it's nature, a formulaic film. The opening and ending are 'got over with quickly' avoiding too much schmaltz sensibly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mario
Very enjoyable and quite involving so pleased with end result. Well acted well prduced with extremes snow and desert. Can recommendPublished 1 month ago by Mrs V Woodcock
This film is based on the book 'the long walk'. I really enjoyed the movie. The criticsm is that the ending in the movie and the book are completely differentPublished 1 month ago by flowerinapot
Good film. Read the book. Then read about the author, which casts the book in an entirely different light. Worth a watch though.Published 2 months ago by japbike1000
Good film but read the book first and that sometimes detracts from the filmPublished 3 months ago by BA