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The Way Back

7/10
Drama . History . Adventure . Biography
 

Peter Weir's follow-up to Master & Commander (2003) is the stark & brilliant The Way Back, which takes on the theme of man's struggle for freedom. At the dawn of WWII, several men escape from a Russian gulag. The film details their perilous & uncertain journey to freedom, as they cross deserts, mountains, & several nations.

 
Actors: Dejan Angelov , Colin Farrell , Sebastian Urzendowsky , Gustaf Skarsgård , Alexandru Potocean , Mark Strong , Saoirse Ronan , Jim Sturgess , Ed Harris , Dragoș Bucur , Dragos Bucur
Directors: Peter Weir
Country: USA , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , POLAND
Release: 2011-01-21
More Info:
  • Pete Hammond

    A grueling, stunningly photographed story.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Dan Kois

    The Way Back diligently catalogs the outrages through which extreme cold, hunger and thirst put the body, and Weir's camera finds the terrible beauty in his actors' chapped lips, windburned cheeks and tenderized feet.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    The director, 66, brings his passion for precision to every frame of the film, refusing to hype or Hollywoodize the detailed richness of the story.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    This is old-school monumental filmmaking, without CGI tricks or many soundstage comforts for a dedicated cast. David Lean would probably approve.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Mary Pols

    The overall metaphor Weir was aiming for - this idea of enemies so powerful and a war so menacing and confusingly big that no place seems safe except a place absurdly far away - comes through clearly and stays with you.

    Time Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The man-versus-the-natural world story is in Weir's wheelhouse, and Harris and Farrell get into a scene-stealing duel. Worth the trek.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Stephen Farber

    Beyond its visual splendors, however, the film achieves searing moral power.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Weir has an epic imagination but, unlike, say David Lean, he doesn't fill out the epic vision with epic characters. The result is a film that seems simultaneously grand and skimpy.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Part "The Great Escape" and part "Lawrence of Arabia, " Weir's epic The Way Back is ambitious in scope, grand in vision and rich with examples of the resilience of the human spirit.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Stirring as it frequently is, The Way Back is a good movie that should have been a classic.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Weir is the real deal, and his gifts more than repay the time you invest in the film.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As Russell Boyd's remarkable cinematography emphasizes the dwarfing grandeur of the surrounding topography, Weir shows how the corresponding smallness of individuals is compensated for by the grandeur of their aspiration.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It's earnest and well-acted and sturdily filmed: We're in good hands and we know it.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    Whether it is truth, fiction or, most likely, a little of each, the story Weir tells is a powerful parable of man's charge for freedom and his humbling by nature.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Well-acted and artfully (though conventionally) made, The Way Back tells a compelling story, regardless of whether it's based on truth or a fabrication.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    It's also filled with scenes of extraordinary survival challenges. But the result is oddly impersonal and undifferentiated.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    An entertaining old-fashioned prison escape movie with a touch of the epic about it.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    It's impossible not to cry at their suffering, but whether you'll feel anything is another story.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Elvis Mitchell

    Weir's artisan's sureness grants a bewitching calm - his trademark ambience - to this harrowing tale.

    Movieline Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    The movie makes for quite a hike. It's also, at times, a bit of a slog.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    You would expect an epic with brains and hearts. Instead we settle for sturdy craft, with a stellar cast struggling to breathe life into the cold material.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The Way Back, with its epic story and spectacularly bleak setting, invites comparisons with "Laurence of Arabia" and "Dr. Zhivago." It's awash in vast, unforgiving terrain. So it got the setting right, but not necessarily the substance.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    The result is a brisk trot through a story that is, at heart, a tough slog.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    There is an irony here. The film exhibits an admirable determination to do justice to a real story, but the story's not real.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The Way Back then takes its time, creeping through gorgeous locations in Bulgaria, Morocco and Pakistan, and basically feeling like a two-hour-plus version of the desert scene from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • David Hughes

    Weir couldn't make a boring film if his life depended on it, and for any other director The Way Back would be laudable. It's good, but from this director we have come to expect great.

    Empire Full Review
  • Mark Olsen

    In its best moments is as big as a movie can be, as big as life itself.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Ultimately, however, The Way Back fails to connect on the all-important visceral, emotional level.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Most of those hardships are familiar to movie lovers; that's a reductionist view of a serious and ambitious production, but it is, after all, a movie on a screen. (And a movie with a dreadfully clumsy ending.)

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Its stop-and-start feel keeps you from ever getting fully absorbed in the story.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Despite the two-hours-plus running time, major plot developments like the actual escape and the eventual departure of Colin Farrell's hardened Stalinist flit by so quickly that they barely register.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    His (Weir) hardship drama is stolidly old-fashioned, more extreme travelogue than exercise in visceral horror.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    This arduous travelogue focuses on the macro (stunning, David Lean-like landscapes) and the micro (countless closeups of blistered flesh) to the virtual exclusion of compelling characters.

    Variety Full Review
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  • prison escape

  • communism

  • nude drawing

  • teenage girl

  • death of son

  • three word title

  • fiction

  • world war two

  • mongolia

  • gobi desert

  • china

  • russia

  • blister

  • sunstroke

  • grave

  • shallow grave

  • freeze to death

  • knife

  • tattoo

  • gambler

  • coal mine

  • miner

  • generator

  • freezing to death

  • sandstorm

  • mirage

  • oasis

  • horseman

  • siberia

  • water bag

  • death by dehydration

  • dehydration

  • death

  • murder

  • guilt

  • russian orthodox

  • foot blister

  • prison sentence

  • forced confession

  • torture

  • reunion

  • drawings

  • fish hook

  • barbed wire

  • actor

  • gambling debt

  • starvation

  • danger

  • lake

  • snake

  • fire

  • flint

  • compass

  • long walk

  • ration

  • orphan

  • death of parents

  • lhasa

  • interrogation

  • confession

  • hallucination

  • survival

  • forest

  • prison camp

  • stalin

  • stalinism

  • tibet

  • artist

  • thug

  • american

  • gulag

  • india

  • escape

  • mine

  • snowstorm

  • water

  • journey

  • himalayas

  • priest

  • night blindness

  • desert

  • based on memoir

  • pastry chef

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