DIR: Peter Weir • WRI: Peter Weir, Keith Clarke, Sławomir Rawicz • PRO: Peter Weir, Joni Levin, Duncan Henderson, Nigel Sinclair, Scott Rudin • DOP: Russell Boyd • ED: Lee Smith • DES: John Stoddart • CAST: Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Dragoş Bucur, Gustaf Skarsgård
An intense and beautiful piece of cinema, The Way Back is loosely based on the true story of soldiers who escaped from a Siberian gulag during World War II. With a whopper of a line-up, the film not only features the likes of Jim Sturgess and Ed Harris, but also our very own Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan.
Not quite a feel-good film; The Way Back tells the arduous story of the gang as they make their way walking across the treacherous landscape of two continents in a break for freedom. Dealing with starvation and treachery, bravery and friendship; this film develops well, slowly revealing the intricate personalities of strong characters in a desperate situation. They aren’t the only ones feeling the chill, the stunning aesthetics of the film illustrate the harshness of the various terrains.
This film really takes a refreshing approach focusing on a soldier’s fight for survival, rather than the victorious gung-ho battle against an evil foe. It deals mainly with the internal struggles of complex people who’ve had to make difficult sacrifices to stay alive.
The Way Back does have a distinct voice – but it still manages at times to dip lightly into a hollywood cliché. Nevertheless this film is a shiny beacon of brilliance amongst the rest of the mediocre dramas of 2010. Colin and Saoirse do us proud, both stealing the show with some incredible performances, which are delivered through some quite amusing Eastern European accents. Fingers crossed the two nab us some Oscars®.
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
The Way Back is released 26th Dec 2010