The Way Back- sp– This movie has all the ingredients for an epic movie. The story is that a handful of prisoners escape from a Russian gulag in 1940 and trek across Siberia to the Himalayas and ultimately into India more that 4000 miles. There are freezing cold temperatures, snow storms, sand storms, blistering hot desserts, gigantic mountains, starvation, lack of water. The actors include Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess and Colin Farell all who do a terrific job as does the the supporting cast, especially Saoirse Ronan a spirited 15 year old actress, under the direction of Peter Weir who had a 29 million dollar budget. The scenes are quite realistic as you can almost feel their numbness in the frigid temperatures, the pain from the blisters on their feet and their parched throats or deliciousness of an occasional oasis of water. The story is based on popular memoir written by Slavomit Racuwicz in the 1950s which sold 500,00 copies worldwide. It was ultimately determined that the author, while he was prisoner in the gulag for awhile, did not make this trek himself but based it on stories that he had heard about. Peter Weir and his team or writers and producers extensively researched the subject and ultimately this adventure is also based on the experiences that some real people actually went through. Certainly it is tribute to the human spirit, the will and ability of man to survive the horrors of mankind and the harshness of nature. The problem that we had with this two hour and 13 minute movie is that the individual stories of each of the characters were not developed in a manner, which engaged us. Yes, we ultimately learned about some of them, usually through a brief conversation. We did not find that their stories came together nor did it made us care about them as individuals as much as we may have cared for them for who they symbolized. As survivors who were seeking freedom through an almost impossible (and very long) path, we rooted for them. But in the end, we don’t think we shall remember them. (2010)
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