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The Way Back (I) (2010)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  21 January 2011 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 79,178 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 152 user | 208 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Keith Clarke) , (novel), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Way Back (2010)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Alexandru Potocean ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Interrogator (as Zahari Baharov)
Sally E. Brunski ...
Janusz's Wife, 1939 (as Sally Edwards)
Igor Gnezdilov ...
Dejan Angelov ...
Andrei
Stanislav Pishtalov ...
Commandant
Mariy Grigorov ...
Lazar (as Marii Grigorov)
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Storyline

In 1941, three men reach India from Tibet, having walked 4000 miles after escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife; he knows how to live in the wilds. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, and moral questions of when to leave someone behind. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their escape was just the beginning


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino a la libertad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,327,650 (UK) (31 December 2010)

Gross:

$2,677,401 (USA) (18 February 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early in the film, as the prisoners are marched up to the front gate of the Gulag prison camp, a slogan written in Russian Cyrillic letters is seen over that gate. It is a slightly shortened variation of a famous propaganda slogan from Communist-era Soviet Union, which translates approximately to "Labor in the USSR is a matter of honour, a matter of valour and heroism." See more »

Goofs

When Irena is being carried in the desert, the film gets flipped. First she was on the left side, then during a close-up she is on the right, then when they go back out she's on the left again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Polish, using English subtitles]
Interrogator: [presents pen to sign confession]
Janusz: No.
Interrogator: Bring in the witness.
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [brought in]
Interrogator: Do you know this man? His name?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: Janusz Wieszczek.
Interrogator: Witness, what's your relationship with this man?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [crying] I am his wife.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.14 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tibet
Written by Burkhard Dallwitz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
When Irish actors go all Polski
2 January 2011 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Peter Weir's first film in seven years is another exercise in sturdy direction with strong social themes running through it - recalling many of his previous works in style and content. It follows a group of escaped prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1940 as they brave the treacherous wilderness of Asia for freedom from the Soviet regime. It's tough viewing for the most part but there is a surprising amount of comic relief along the way, provided chiefly by Colin Farrell's salty character. The group scavenge for food, even fighting off wolves for the carcass of an animal at one point - but the constant bickering and relentless doom and gloom does begin to wear. The film picks up however once Saoirse Ronan enters the picture and her youthful feminine presence brings an interesting dynamic. Emoting with a flawless Polish accent (almost like a mini-Streep) her character is one of the more compelling and layered and gives this emerging young actress a chance to display her skills. The cinematography is serviceable but hardly spectacular - capturing a harsh, arid landscape as opposed to Malick-like celebration of nature.

As the film wears on, the struggle to survive intensifies, particular when they reach the Ghobi desert - the scenes are very well done but viewing becomes quite grueling. Harris bring a certain integrity to his role in a rather unshowy performance with not much character introspection (I can see why his Oscar buzz has disappeared). In fact character development across the board is quite lacking, and watching the plot unfold, with the knowledge of the outcome of the story already provided in the opening titles - the narrative becomes quite arbitrary and the story doesn't always sustain interest. The final leg of the journey through the Himalayas almost seems rushed compared to the bloated second act. Still, it's a very well-made film with good acting and visuals - just don't expect to be inspired.


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