The Way Back (2010)

This will be short. I just want to point out this movie that got lost in the award season release schedule and is now finally on DVD. Though, this is the kind of epic, on-location type movie that should be seen on a big screen, if possible. This is also, sadly, the type of movie that just isn’t made that often anymore. Peter Weir managed to scrape together enough to get this made from various sources (National Geographic even threw in some money).
This seems like the type of film that would be a great supplement to reading the story first. Based on The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz, this film triumphs in its attempts at realism (earning its well deserved, though only, Oscar nomination for Best Makeup).
The international, ensemble cast is marvelous with Jim Sturgess and Ed Harris leading, along with Saorise Ronan and Colin Farrell (with yet another surprisingly good supporting performance). The plot concerns the journey taken after a Gulag prison break.
My one complaint is that, with this movie only being slightly over 2 hours, it is much more fragmented in its editing than I would have liked. Despite the lack of changing narrative (it is a fairly linear journey, at least geographically), it could have easily been a half hour longer. And, if you are one for uber-realism, it might be hard to take that Bulgaria stands in for Siberia and Morroco for Mongolia. But the landscapes still look amazing.
The Gulag part of the film really could have been its own feature-length film, but really takes less than 1/4 of the running time. As Weir says, it is all about “the journey”. Definitely worth taking, if you are familiar with Weir’s past adventure tales or just like a good visual story…










2 Responses to “The Way Back (2010)”

  1. 1 Shahzaad A
    July 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

    How sad am I that I hadn’t even heard of this movie until I came across your post (sighs) And I actually LIKE Weir, which makes this even sadder. ‘Dead Poets Society’ will always remain one of my Top 10 favourite movies of all time. I must admit, however, that I did go off Weir for a bit, after the Truman Show, which was so… Bleagh! Hope this one brings him back into my ‘Keep Track Of’ list. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I am a big fan of anything featuring a prison break – the obsession mostly brought on by ‘Down by Law’ & the aptly named ‘Prison Break’ (TV series) which was quite refreshing. Even the latest Planet of the Apes movie, its prequel in fact, features a prison break to end all prison breaks – mainly because it happens to be staged by a couple of Apes. Hope this one’s as good as it looks http://www.youtube.com/user/ApesWillRiseUAE You a POTA fan?

    • July 31, 2011 at 12:56 am

      I am a fan of the POTA series, though I didn’t care for the Tim Burton film. I am hoping this new film will be better than the previews are making it out to be. I usually like James Franco, but he seems dead in the scenes I’ve seen. Hopefully in context it will be better.
      This new film was in development for quite awhile with an apparently amazing script by Scott Frank called “Caesar” that was supposed to have been much more ‘revolutionary’. Conquest is my favorite of the originals. There’s no way anything made nowadays could be as good….

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