The Way Back (12A)

Film

Drama

waybackREV1

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Dec 21 2010

Peter Weir’s first film since 2003’s ‘Master and Commander’ hovers uncertainly between true-life tale and mythic odyssey. Polish soldier Slavomir Rawicz’s memoir ‘The Long Walk’ describes his 1940 escape from a Siberian gulag, across the Gobi desert and over the Himalayas, but subsequent doubts over its veracity means Weir uses fictionalised characters for his screen retelling. Compound this with a seeming disjuncture between the film’s portentous newsreel-heavy historical scene-setting and the elemental drama of the odyssey itself and the viewer is left unhelpfully foggy on where truth ends and dramatic licence begins.

Essentially, this undercuts the overall emotional impact, but on a scene-by-scene basis there are some marvellous things here, not least the extraordinary changing landscapes along the epic route. Snowy tundra and desert wastes leave the cast fighting for attention, yet in this expansive context it’s actually the intimately human moments that come off best. Jim Sturgess digs deeper than previously thought possible as the Polish leader of the escape party, matched by the cussed cynicism of Ed Harris’s ex-pat Yank, and indeed Colin Farrell’s canny turn as a potentially lethal criminal untroubled by his fellow fugitives’ political motives. Most affecting is Saoirse Ronan’s waif-like interloper as the going gets seriously tough and Big Questions enter the frame – where’s the line between compassion and self-preservation? Why, in essence, do we live? Weir certainly earns the right to ponder these issues, yet for all the film’s occasional peaks, we’re left with the sense of a story so incredible even this cinematic visionary is struggling to contain it on celluloid.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Sun Dec 26, 2010

Duration:

132 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|10
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dragster

I'd judge this as worth seeing but not by a vast margin. I do feel let down in that one of the most incredible segments of the journey (Yeti or not) is dispensed with in ten seconds, they set off from Lhasa in the winter and are immediately transported to the tea picking season in India. Perhaps they were aided by Meekats (simples)? I would also have appreciated a prologue or summary detailing which aspects of the story are deemed credible because even if just portions are true they would stand as feats of human endurance. All in all a better than average film but with some very disappointing aspects.

dragster

I'd judge this as worth seeing but not by a vast margin. I do feel let down in that one of the most incredible segments of the journey (Yeti or not) is dispensed with in ten seconds, they set off from Lhasa in the winter and are immediately transported to the tea picking season in India. Perhaps they were aided by Meekats (simples)? I would also have appreciated a prologue or summary detailing which aspects of the story are deemed credible because even if just portions are true they would stand as feats of human endurance. All in all a better than average film but with some very disappointing aspects.

sticky

Yet another great film from the world's best ever director (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Witness, Dead Poets Society, Green Card, The Truman Show, Master and Commander.......the list is endless. If only Peter Weir didn't keep waiting so many years before embarking on a new film.

sticky

Yet another great film from the world's best ever director (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Witness, Dead Poets Society, Green Card, The Truman Show, Master and Commander.......the list is endless. If only Peter Weir didn't keep waiting so many years before embarking on a new film.

Janey

Overrated film. Shallow narrative, dialogue and rather 2-D characterisation. Far too long, and with rather Americanised sentimentalisation of certain incidents. Trudge, trrudge, trudge.

Janey

Overrated film. Shallow narrative, dialogue and rather 2-D characterisation. Far too long, and with rather Americanised sentimentalisation of certain incidents. Trudge, trrudge, trudge.

critique

Visually arresting, engaging epic drama. The pacing isn`t all it might have been, particularly in the latter third, but there is much to enjoy here.

critique

Visually arresting, engaging epic drama. The pacing isn`t all it might have been, particularly in the latter third, but there is much to enjoy here.

Nathalie

For me this review was spot on. Worth paying to see on the big screen for the amazing scenery. Great acting all round, but certainly despite the length of the film it left me with a feeling that I hadn't got enough of the epic story, it has inspired me to read the book it was based on.

Nathalie

For me this review was spot on. Worth paying to see on the big screen for the amazing scenery. Great acting all round, but certainly despite the length of the film it left me with a feeling that I hadn't got enough of the epic story, it has inspired me to read the book it was based on.