Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: When they escape a Siberian labor camp in 1940 seven courageous multi-national prisoners discover the true meaning of friendship as their epic journey takes them across thousands of miles of hostile terrain en-route to India and their freedom. (Exclusive Media Group)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Jan 19, 2011
    A grueling, stunningly photographed story.
  2. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jan 24, 2011
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 19, 2011
    An entertaining old-fashioned prison escape movie with a touch of the epic about it.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 21, 2011
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 21, 2011
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 18, 2011
    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."
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 14, 2011
    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.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Jan 26, 2014
    This is one of those movies that I will remember forever. A true story about a group of people that escape a Siberian prison camp in 1941 and walk 4000 miles to freedom in India. The locations are beautiful, the acting was brilliant (particularly from Collin Farrel with his crazy Russian murderer character), the comedy is hilarious when it's there and the story is awe-inspiring. I can tell you now that I appreciate the life I have a lot more after seeing what these men (and one girl) had to go through. This is definitely the best survival/adventure movie I have ever seen, and as of now one of at least my top 5 favorite movies of all time. The way the director portrayed two death scenes in particular was... this may sound strange, but, beautiful. That final scene right at the end almost had me in tears. Expand
  2. Nov 21, 2013
    Everything in this movie is just PERFECT.It is very difficult to find a good movie based on survival and this one is in the top 3 so far as per me.The characters are outstanding,the cinematography is at its best,locations were excellent.There is not a single flaw that I can point out. Expand
  3. Jul 8, 2011
    What would you do to survive? Would you become an animal that will do anything to survive or would there still be some humanity left in you? Would you rely on good will of other people or would you just look after yourself? Would you be ruthless, merciless, without any sympathy to other beings or would you show mercy, offer shelter, give food even if you know that it will lead to your death? This is a film that brings out these questions and let's you answer them for yourself. A gripping film with good acting and in my opinion one of better film that have came out this year. Collapse
  4. May 1, 2011
    Harrowing story, sensational cinematography, and engaging acting, all under Peter Weirs' watchful eye. My only complaint is that it is excessively long, but that is such a trivial comment to make when compared to the months that turned into years that these brave souls endured to escape from Siberia and WALK over 4,000 miles to safety (including crossing the Himalayas) to freedom in India.Well worth one viewing, but doubtful that anyone would seriously want to see it a second time, due to the length. Expand
  5. Jan 22, 2011
    It's a prison escape film with all the interesting characters removed to make way for the grand visuals and experience of traveling 4000 miles. Very entertaining, but not perfect in the slightest. Expand
  6. Dec 8, 2012
    One of the those 2010 films that came out really early in the next year. A lot of people missed it for that reason, but it's a really great film. Well done, beautiful locations. One of the most underrated films of 2010. Expand
  7. Jan 22, 2011
    If an epic comprises of too many repetitive details, it would be best to keep it short and to the point. These were the thoughts that went through my head when watching The Way Back. With that said, by no means is this film lackluster, the cast is strong and the plot fascinating; But it is a disappointment that this compeller of a story is only half of the epic that it is intended to be.

    Academy Award nominated director Peter Weir returns from a seven year hiatus with the quasi film adaptation of The Long Walk, a proclaimed true story of six men who walked 4000 miles from Siberia to India. While the validity of this story still remains questionable, Weir uses solely the premise of this epic, substituting the characters with ones of his own creation. The beginning of the film we see the main protagonist Janusz (Jim Sturgess), a Polish prisoner of war who has been accused of sabotage and espionage towards the Communist Party. He is then sent to serve twenty years at a Siberian gulag. There he meets an American, Mr. Smith (Ed Harris) who insists that kindness can kill you here. Janusz and Mr. Smith, along with four other men including Russian criminal Valka (Colin Ferell), devise an escape plan to escape the gulag. Peter Weir is really brief in this portion of the movie with the escape being described in under half an hour. As a result, the characters are hastily developed, placing a subtle wall between the audience and the main figures. After the escape, Janusz leads the party through 4000 miles of different terrain with obstacles opposing their will to survive and attain freedom. They also encounter a young Polish girl, played by the rising star Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones), who joins the party in their venture for freedom.

    While the premise is strong, the walk is long (yes, it rhymes). The film goes into an hour of directionless plot, while also maintaining a rinse, wash, repeat style of story telling. The plot direction is as follows: walk one terrain, face natural obstacle, look at a another daunting terrain. While the direction in which the story is told is ultimately weak, the cast and the cinematography surely make up for it. Even though the cast is not as emotionally involved with the audience as it should be, the performances are solid. Ferrel and Harris are multi-dimensional as there is a mystery within both of the characters. If any emotion is involved with the characters, it will be towards these two. Saoirse Ronan, who by the way I am a big fan of, plays a small role but provides the much needed pathos. The main protagonist played by Sturgess is somewhat of a bland character, but it is he who creates the most dramatic moment at the end of the film. Another strong point of the movie, as said, is Russel Boyd's cinematography. The Way Back is from National Geographic Entertainment (which also produced March of The Penguins), resulting in images that illustrates nature in an eye-pleasing and interesting manner. Overall The Way Back is a superbly well-made film. Even though it has it moments of monotony, the cast and fascinating plot contributes to an entertaining experience as well providing a small commentary on communism. It may not have the strong emotional connection seen in Weir's other films (The Truman Show, Master And Commander), but the cast's efforts make the film compelling enough for a watch. Grade: B-

See all 21 User Reviews


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