7.3/10
93,052
159 user 215 critic

The Way Back (2010)

Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Keith Clarke), (novel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,764 ( 1,143)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Interrogator (as Zahari Baharov)
Sally E. Brunski ...
Janusz's Wife, 1939 (as Sally Edwards)
Igor Gnezdilov ...
...
Andrei
Stanislav Pishtalov ...
Commandant
Mariy Grigorov ...
Lazar (as Marii Grigorov)
Edit

Storyline

In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife, spent much of his youth outdoors, and knows how to live in the wild. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comedic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>, Shahob, Bellingham, WA, US

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gulag | desert | priest | india | himalayas | See All (83) »

Taglines:

Their escape was just the beginning


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino a la libertad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,327,650 (UK) (31 December 2010)

Gross:

$2,677,401 (USA) (18 February 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Renowned historian Anne Applebaum, who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction for "GULAG: A history"(2003), worked as a historical consultant on this movie. She said about the historical accuracy: "I read the script a couple of times. I know that other people read the script as well. He [director and co-writer Peter Weir] sent it to another historian at Stanford and he sent it to a couple of the survivors whose names I'd given him. And I have to say I thought the result was superb. You know, there may be little licenses you have to take in order to convey to an audience that doesn't know the story, what's going on. Sometimes the guards say things they might not have said because they are explaining things to the audience. But given that he needed to do things like that, I think it's extraordinary. It's amazingly real. You understand exactly how claustrophobic it was. Many of the incidents that you see in the movie come from real stories or come from gulag survivor and writer Varlam Shalamov or come from other gulag writers. I can see them almost exactly. I think it's an extremely well-done film and about as true-to-life as you could make a movie."[2010] See more »

Goofs

The original plan is to escape to Mongolia, but they discover it has a Communist government. But this government had been ruling since 1924. It is unlikely that not one of the escape party would have known this. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Polish, using English subtitles]
Interrogator: [presents pen to sign confession]
Janusz: No.
Interrogator: Bring in the witness.
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [brought in]
Interrogator: Do you know this man? His name?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: Janusz Wieszczek.
Interrogator: Witness, what's your relationship with this man?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [crying] I am his wife.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.1 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tibet
Written by Burkhard Dallwitz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Peter Weir goes from ocean to desert
16 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

Peter Weir's follow-up to Master & Commander (2003) is the unflinching, stark, & brilliant The Way Back, which takes on the weighty 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.

The cast is a clever mix of seasoned pros & relative newcomers. Ed Harris, in the role of the sole American, lends his usual gravitas. Colin Farrell borrows from his In Bruges character, but the addition of bad jailhouse tattoos is wildly amusing, & his Russian is quite passable. It's always nice to see Mister Farrell doing serious work, rather than bland fluff like Miami Vice or SWAT. Mark Strong's brief, but plot-essential appearance is joyous.

Jim Sturgess gets a chance to redeem himself from the disastrous flop 21, & does a fine job here, as the central character. & the adolescent Saoirse Ronan belies her extensive & impressive resume with an understated performance that sparkles against the men's terse asperity.

Breathtaking vistas that serve as the backdrop to the cast's efforts lend The Way Back an epic feel, echoed by mature editing, & mavellously restrained use of music.

This is, quite possibly, the most serious film Peter Weir has ever directed, & the result is both thought-provoking & inspiring. We can only hope that it gets a proper release, & is allowed an opportunity to reach its grown-up audience.


156 of 208 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?