The Way Back directed by Peter Weir


The premise of this “based on a true story” movie is quite staggering. A group of seven men break free from a Russian forced labour camp in the Northern Gulags of Siberia. They then cross a wintry Siberia, the Gobi Desert, the Himalayas and finally the Indian subcontinent. All by foot, all in farcically difficult conditions and running the risk of being handed in for a bounty on their heads.

Add to that the fact that it is directed by the once awesome Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Witness, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and mix in a pretty star studded cast (Colin Farrell and Ed Harris) all shot on location and one would expect is a moving, jaw dropping boys own adventure that takes the breath away.

Instead we get a very disappointing anticlimax with some hammy, nay cod, Polish acting (Farrell triumphs in this department), poorly lit and rather uninspiring cinematography, a forgettable soundtrack and no more character development than you’d expect from the average news report. The script is weak and the whole movie laboured.

Despite this I’m not saying it’s actually a bad film. It’s not, it’s just not a great film, maybe not even a good one.

Overall, disappointing. But not a complete disaster. After all Ed Harris plays a bit of a blinder.

7 thoughts on “The Way Back directed by Peter Weir

  1. I think that something else than the amazing quality of this film has made you write these bitter words. I don’t think that you have seen it. Collin Farrell isn’t playing a Polish character. Your ethnic comment disqualifies you as an objective critic. The film is a masterpiece.

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    • Hmmm. I think you’ll find he is playing a Pole See this extract from IMDB…The film is based on a memoir by Slavomir Rawicz depicting his escape from a Siberian gulag and subsequent 4000-mile walk to freedom in India. Incredibly popular, it sold over 500,000 copies and is credited with inspiring many explorers. However, in 2006 the BBC unearthed records (including so me written by Rawicz himself) that showed he had been released by the USSR in 1942. In 2009 another former Polish soldier, Witold Glinski, claimed that the book was really an account of his own escape. However this claim too has been seriously challenged.

      and it’s hardly an ethnic (correct one as it happens) comment, merely an exposition of the facts.

      The bottom line is; the film’s pretty shit.

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  2. Reading your posting I seriously wonder what are you trying to accomplish by saying all these things. You didn’t see the movie and you wrote a review. You provide your readers with misleading facts. Why? You are one fascinating guy.
    The film premiers tommorrow.

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    • Eh…no Sistemo. The movie may well premiere in the USA tomorrow but its run in the UK is long over.

      Look, you waste your bucks if you like but take it from me, having seen it on January 5th, the film sucks like a hoover.

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  3. I also saw the film. It was good but you didn’t engage with the characters, it could have been an amazing film. Why are you so bitter Sistemo. Have you now seen the film (Jeana Gorman)

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    • I don’t think that you have done much reading about this film. Peter Weir didn’t want to make it until it was documented that the walk really took place. He met people who provided him with facts. Those were people in academia and British officers who met those three who managed to reach India. Out of 20 million people who were kept in Gulag 200 thousand Poles were
      released and were left to find their way to freedom. They walked for thousands of miles to the South and majority of them perished in the most brutal conditions.

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