Friday, 14 October 2011

DVD review - The Way Back

My latest DVD rental sees a long line of incredible actors break out of a war prison and walk home... not that great you might think until you realise they will have to walk for weeks before reaching civilisation and through uninhabitable lands of snow, wind and desert. Oh and they're low on food and water. The film, inspired supposedly by a true story, stars Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong and Saoirse Ronan and sees them on an epic walk for survival.

Janusz (Sturgess) has just arrived at the Siberian gulag after being falsely accused of being a spy. His wife has been tortured into confessing all and he knows only he can forgive her. So, not long after he arrives he manages to enlist a few people to help him escape and join him on the long walk back.

Cinematically, the film is staggering as they walk through blizzards, forests, lakes, deserts and everything in between. The acting is great, if a little bizarre with all the eastern European accents (except for Ed Harris - who I envisage rather comically just flat-out refusing to do any accent but his own). It's a long arduous film, to reflect their journey as the group gets smaller and smaller.

I imagine this film would have been much more epic on the big screen, as the shots of landscapes are simply breath-taking (akin to those of Lord of the Rings though far more harsh than picturesque).

The real let-down is the final scene which is so overly sentimental it just didn't fit with the rest of the film. Other than that, worth a watch if you like the slightly depressing.


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