Featured Post

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Director: Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov Genre: Documentary With "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" Werner Herzog ...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Way Back (2010)

Director: Peter Weir
Genre: Adventure
Cast: Jim Sturgess Ed Harris, Colin Farrel, Saoirse Ronan

The Way BackPlot: Story of a few prisoners’ 4000 mile long arduous escape journey from a Siberian Gulag—a forced labor camp during WWII.

‘The Way Back’ is an epic in respect of its content. Stalin/Russia and Hitler/Nazi are at war, and World War II is the backdrop, any foreigner in Siberia is suspected as a spy; be it Polish, Latvian or American, and is sent to the dreaded Gulag. Prisoners are put through tough labor and, like most forced WWII camps, are underfed. The jail is considered as unbreakable not because of its sentries or barbed wire but because there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Any escapee will either get lost in the extreme and wild Siberian vastness or freeze to death in sub-zero temperatures.

Yet, some escapees attempt this impossible—a freedom-walk from Siberia to India. Conditions for survival are adverse and nature is at its utmost fury. In their mammoth journey escapees chart the depths of snow-covered Cedar forest, measure the length of magnificent Lake Baikal, survive the hunger/thirst of Mongolian desert and ultimately face the grand Himalayas. All through this, they brave the bone chilling tempests of Siberia, sandstorms of Gobi desert, unending nothingness of Tibetan plateaus, and above all, leaving behind their loved ones. Down and out and at the limit of physical exhaustion, their will power and burning desire to reach someone keeps them going. Eventually, the epic journey concludes in Sikkim, India.

The film beautifully portrays some very tender sentiments. Mr. Smith (Harris) comes back from almost dead because of his son. The group’s natural leader Janusz (Sturgess) must wait till Poland’s freedom in 1989 to reunite with his estranged wife who actually gave him away under severe torture. Janusz wants to let her know she is forgiven and deserves peace. With the help of some moving, black&white collages, he is shown to have waited 50 years to meet his wife.
It is a visually striking piece of film-making and vastness of plot can’t be covered in a mere 2 hours, which is primarily the reason why some scenes are a bit hurried and beautiful sequences end prematurely when you are craving for more in-depth detailing. Nonetheless this film is a must watch for its sheer multifariousness. When it comes to nature it doesn’t get more diverse and exotic than this movie.  

The film is directed well. An extra hour or so would have given screenplay, along with direction, ample breathing space. Acting is only a second fiddle here, still some sequences like Valka (Farrell) not quitting on mother Russia and risking imprisonment, death scenes of the characters, especially Irena, do touch you. Makeup is simply unbelievable, no surprises it was nominated for Academy in the category.      

Set in 1939 ‘The Way Back’ is based on the novel ‘The Long Walk’ which has been claimed as an account of true events by some world war survivors and veterans. Director, though, maintains it is only a story.    

Any nature lovers or hard core trekkers must do themselves a favor and watch it immediately!

Facebook Comments by Blogger Widgets


Find us on Google+