The Way Back

{5/5} “Kindness… That can kill you here.”

The Way Back, released in 2010

It’s 1940 and in the Soviet Union political prisoners are sent to Siberia. Janusz, who is Polish, is sent there because after his wife was tortured she accused him of being a spy. The prisoners are made to cut down trees and work in the mines. Janusz meets an American who goes by the name of Mr. Smith, and they plan their escape. But Siberia is five million square miles, and there’s a bounty on anyone who escapes from the prison.

It’s a story of perseverance amidst the harshest of conditions. Some days you might feel like watching a comedy — that’s not the time to watch this movie. But I encourage you to see it. The scenes of huge vistas would have been amazing to see on the big screen.

Complementing these scenes is majestic music by Burkhard Dallwitz (The Truman Show). My favourite tracks on the album are “Lake Baikal” and “Tibet.”

Jim Sturgess (Jude in Across the Universe) plays Janusz, and Ed Harris (Bud in The Abyss) plays Mr. Smith. Colin Farrell (Alexander in Alexander) plays one of the more dangerous prisoners — they bring him along because he has a knife. Saoirse Ronan (Hanna in Hanna) plays a girl they pick up on the way (I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say they manage to escape the prison).

The director, Peter Weir, knows how to make a movie — Witness, The Mosquito Coast, Dead Poets Society, and The Truman Show are all his.

Although the movie is loosely based on a memoir, the truthfulness of that story has been challenged.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2012 at 10:06 pm and is filed under Reviews of movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Way Back”

  1. James Says:

    Hey, I just watched this movie too! I love Weir’s movies… have you seen one of his early movies called Picnic at Hanging Rock? It’s fabulous and creepy and (again) skirts the truthiness line (it says at the beginning that it was based on a true story, so people in Australia got really riled up by it, but turned out to be fictional)

  2. Dave Switzer Says:

    I haven’t seen it — I’ll add it to my list.

Leave a Reply