Posted December 20, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Films

Way Back, The

The Way Back follows six prisoners as they escape from a Siberian
gulag in 1940, and make their way on an epic intercontinental trek to
freedom in India. Director Peter Weir brings this true story to the
screen with visual flair and fascinating characterisation.

Seven years since shooting his last film, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Way Back demonstrates Weir’s commitment and passion to bring a good story to the screen
no matter what the practical filming difficulties. The former was shot
almost entirely on water, while this film sees locations as varied and
dangerous as scorching deserts and the perilous Himalayan mountains.

Marketed slightly deceptively, the film isn’t quite as relentlessly
action-packed as the trailer might have you believe. The focus is more
on the characters, as we gradually learn about their pasts as the
journey progresses. That isn’t to say the action isn’t thrilling, the
picture does feature stunningly photographed edge-of-your-seat moments.

Weir’s focus on character is a mark of his work, and as we get to
know their personalities and motivations we come to care for them more
and more, willing them on to overcome the torturous hardships they face.
Not since Lawrence of Arabia has the desert come so palpably to life
on screen, with a sequence of such immersive aridity, it will make you
wish you had bought more refreshments from the foyer!

The performances are all exceptional, stand-outs being Colin
Farrell with a surprisingly convincing Russian accent, and the great Ed
Harris, who plays a haggard and haunted American convict. Saoirse Ronan
also reaffirms herself as a bright new talent to keep an eye on,
playing a young Polish girl who tries to persuade the men to let her tag
along. Ronan more than holds her own as she shares the screen with the
more experienced stars.

In keeping with the Christmas tradition of escape movies (who hasn’t
ever spent Christmas Day dozily re-watching The Great Escape from start
to finish?) The Way Back is released on Boxing Day and will bring
audiences an expertly told true story, with powerful messages about not
giving up, and the importance of loved ones.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.