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
When Janusz and the others spot the tattoo of Lenin and Stalin on Valka's chest, he angrily replies that they were great men. Such tattoos were in fact employed by criminals in the false hope that they wouldn't be shot there as it was supposed to be illegal to deface an image of either Lenin or Stalin; although it is well-known that the executions were conducted via shooting in the back of the head. See more »
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 »
I will never complain about going on a walk ever again!
I went with my friends to see this the other day - we picked whatever film was on soonest at the cinema. The Way Back was on...and we went in. I had no idea what the film was about only that I'd heard that "People walk out of Russia".
This film really had you captivated for the entire journey - and you really connect with the characters within it, so much so you experience their emotions with them - you laugh with them, you are on the verge of tears at moments, and you feel their determination.
The acting was great - there were some familiar faces in the likes of Jim Sturgess (21) and Ed Harris (everything else)...and they do very well in their roles. Colin Farrell finds himself taking a respectable role in a respectable film - and does a very good job at it - and even manages to work a Russian accent, which he pulls off - and he pulls it off well. Surprisingly well, actually! Saoirse Ronan, at 15/16, is incredible in this. Given her youth, she manages to draw in the audience with her character's history and gravitas. The other actors within this, despite them being relatively unknown on the Hollywood stage, join the cast well, and the chemistry is there to make the journey and the true stamina of the group believable.
The cinematography was immense, with shots overlooking parts of Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, and India - just helps you realise the vastness of the journey. Most of the journey is filmed looking closely at the characters, but this is what is crucial to the audience enjoying the story. You can't have 2hrs and 13 mins of beautiful scenery and see the intimate struggles with each of the characters...therefore the director does well to mix the two. The audience can see just what the struggles and difficulties are...but are treated to some amazing shots of the scenery, which make you realise how incredible this journey was. (I even got a map out later and routed the journey they took)
I should expect that this film would receive some Oscar nominations, maybe for cinematography, director, perhaps even best picture, but I would love to see Jim Sturgess having a nomination for his role.
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