THE WAY BACK is an
amazing and hypnotic journey of survival and the fight of the human spirit to strive against incredible odds. A group
of prisoners escape a Siberian gulag (during World War 2) to make a journey across Siberia and ultimately over the Himalayas
into India. Ed Harris is Smith (an American) and Colin Farrell as Valka (a criminal) take this long journey
with a Jansuz (Sturgess) as they fight the weather and sometimes the lack of food or water as they push on to make
it to freedom. They pick up a teenage girl (Ronan) along the way.
The film is director Peter Weir's cinematic vision with breathtaking cinematography and a
beautiful music score that reminds me of another hypnotic journey film he directed called MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR
SIDE OF THE WORLD. THE WAY BACK is inspired by a true story of three people who made such a journey (the story is debated
whether it was true and yet it makes for good fodder for a film). Jim Sturgess continues to amaze as an actor while Saoirse
Ronan shows she has acting chops even before she was in HANNA.
THE WAY BACK presents how tough the conditions are for the escaped prisoners
as they may be making a death march that could claim all of their lives. The cinematography provides the landscape
as beautiful and also as a harsh mistress with deadly beauty. Burkhard Dallwitz's music helps suck you into the journey
even more. Silence fills the gaps like a razor since sometimes the characters don't talk to each other.
You pay attention to the silence with the scope of the landscape and music. The escapees are desperate and
yet they hold on. They keep away from people as much since they do have bounties are on their heads. The film
is thin on characterizations, but it is their journey told the cinematography, silence, and music that keeps you watching.
THE JOURNEY OF THE JOURNEY is a 30 minute making-of featurette. Cast and crew reflect
on their journey to make the film. You discover the movie was filmed in Bulgaria and Morocco doubled for Mongolia.
included is the film's theatrical trailer.
FINAL ANALYSIS: THE WAY BACK is a hypnotic
and breathtaking journey about the human spirit. I highly recommend this film.
this DVD review is (c)4-21-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send
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