In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, 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, spent much of his youth outdoors, and knows how to live in the wild. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comedic 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, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom.Written by
<email@example.com>, Shahob, Bellingham, WA, US
The film begins with the following statement: "In 1941 three men walked out of the Himalayas into India. They had survived a 4000 mile walk to freedom. This film is dedicated to them." This is accurate and based on historical evidence, but those 3 men were not Slavomir Rawicz or others from his largely fictitious escape story. The BBC reported in 2010: "We learned of a British intelligence officer who said he had interviewed a group of haggard men in Calcutta in 1942 - a group of men who had escaped from Siberia and then walked all the way to India. And then from New Zealand came news of a Polish engineer who had apparently acted as an interpreter for this very same interview in Calcutta with the wretched survivors. These stories are second-hand, and far from conclusive proof, but for Mr Weir [director Peter Weir], they convinced him that there was an essential truth in the story that he wanted to retain: 'There was enough for me to say that three men had come out of the Himalayas, and that's how I dedicate my film, to these unknown survivors. And then I proceed with essentially a fictional film.' This is why the film has a new title, 'The Way Back', and why the central character is not called Slavomir Rawicz." 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 mean these men escaped a Russian gulag and WALKED 4,000 miles from Siberia to India, come on...
So this movie is based on the 1959 memoir "The Long Walk" (of which there is some debate over its validity). Regardless I really enjoyed it, the story is incredible and I'd been looking foreword to seeing what they would do in the movie version. Throw in a top notch cast as our Siberian gulag escapees (Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess) and this should have been fantastic. All I can say there is maybe my expectations were too high because honestly I came away a little disappointed, actually preferring the book.
The movie itself was very long and kind of jumped around. Granted they had a lot of material to cover as our men escape under cover of a snowstorm and undertake a treacherous journey across thousands of miles of hostile terrain. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, injuries, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, and moral questions of when to leave someone behind.
The cinematography is beautiful, the scenery breathtaking and everyone does a great job. Ed Harris is excellent as the American Mr. Smith (love him) and Colin Ferrell (love him a bit more) was awesome as a tattooed gang-style prisoner, with an amazing Russian accent. As a point of interest his character is not in the book. The scenes in the blizzard and the Gobi desert stand out to me and are brutal but well done. 08.11
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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