The Way Back – review

A group of Siberian prison escapees walk 4000 miles to freedom in India. Sound ridiculously unbelievable? It is. Based on the memoirs of Slavomir Rawicz, it is meant to be a true story, but I think the man is delusional. The ‘Beeb’ agrees with me, uncovering evidence showing he was actually released from prison in 1942, instead of the proposed escape in 1941. Ignoring the questions of fabrication, what is it like as a movie? Not good is the answer. It drags on and on…the length of the movie is meant to make it more dramatic, but it just makes the story more fictitious.

Bringing in big-name actors like Jim Sturgess and Colin Farrell for this movie obviously adds to the profitability of the film, but it destroyed the authenticity of it with dodgy accents. Farrell who plays a Russian thug and Sturgess who plays a Polish suspected spy, both waver in their respective accents. The spoken dialogue doesn’t add much to the film; it is sometimes a bit cheesy or corny to perhaps make it more marketable to the Hollywood audience. What was enjoyable was the spectacular scenery, and the first 30-40 minutes which showed the harshness of Nazi rule and the realities for prisoners during World War II.

This movie is partially schizophrenic; is this story true or false? I don’t think the director even knew. A real shame because Peter Weir has produced some real crackers – The Truman Show and Dead Poets Society.

A long walk, too long for my liking.


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