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The Way Back

 
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The Way Back - 21/12/2010 8:28:17 PM   
Empire Admin

 

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RE: Not good. - 22/12/2010 10:47:05 AM   
matty_b


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This review makes me sad.

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RE: Not good. - 22/12/2010 5:52:51 PM   
adambatman82

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

This review makes me sad.


My review? It seems that many, myself included, had pretty high expectations for it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what others think though, perhaps I was wrong!!?!

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RE: Not good. - 22/12/2010 5:59:38 PM   
matty_b


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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
No, not your review as such, just the fact that a Weir film is apparently so bad.

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RE: The Way Back - 29/12/2010 6:46:05 PM   
R W

 

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Director: Peter Weir
Screenwriters: Keith Clarke, Peter Weir
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Mark Strong

Synopsis
A group of prisoners engineer a gruelling escape from a Stalinist Siberian gulag in 1942 and their passage to India.

Review
Itís been years since weíve seen anything by Peter Weir, who not only has an extraordinary CV but one that is extraordinarily diverse. From war epics like Gallipoli, to the surrealist comedy like The Truman Show, the Aussie filmmaker continues to differentiate himself. Seven years after Master and Commander, Weir this time enters into factual territory.

Loosely based on the memoir by Slawomir Rawicz, we see seven prisoners embarking on a great journey starting at their escape from the Siberian prison and go through challenging obstacles. On the basis of the mentioned memoir, it is a story waiting to be done on screen and now it is been told by Peter Weir, there is wonder and enjoyment to be had.

However, as someone who is not familiar with the story or the book, I felt Iíve seen a lot of this before. One can debate on what are the factual elements within the film, because the depiction of the characters is somewhat clichťd, such as the lone American (Harris), the murderer with no remorse (Farrell) and the orphaned runaway (Ronan).

Despite the familiar characterisation, the strength of the film is the group dynamic as how the relationships between these men (and a girl) develop through the harsh conditions during this journey of epic proportions. While many might feel that the opening description spoils the ending, the denouements are tragic and the climax is incredibly moving.

While his screenwriting is not as good as his direction, Weir is one of great craftsmanship as if youíve seen Master and Commander which is clearly a painterly piece of art. In the case of The Way Back, the film is mostly told through its landscapes from the bone-chilliness of Siberia and the extreme hotness of the deserts.

As we have seen films in which western actors doing thick European accents, The Way Back shows mostly British actors sounding very subtle in their Polish/Russian accents, such as a terrific Jim Sturgess and a sinister tattooed Colin Farrell. Itís a shame that we donít see much of Mark Strong. Although Ed Harris does not do a foot wrong as the lone American who is doing the best performance, Saoirse Ronan is a delight you canít resist.

Verdict
Although there was expectation of another great Weir film, we donít get that, but we still a piece of craftsmanship thanks to the locations and performances.

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Post #: 5
The Way Back - 12/1/2011 5:54:57 PM   
Bighousewill

 

Posts: 244
Joined: 5/12/2009
It would be a shame if you missed this in the Cinema and watched it on DVD instead because this needs to be seen upon the big screen. I like how they survive in prison and on their epic journey by foot this is a nice piece of cinema. four and half stars it is long but I didn't really want it to end.

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Post #: 6
RE: The Way Back - 15/1/2011 5:17:34 PM   
Scruffybobby

 

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Peter Weir's first film in seven years comes with a weight of expectations which it doesn't quite manage to bear. It's an interesting and beautifully shot film with some superb performances but it's ultimately not as involving or emotionally satisfying as it ought to be.   Part of the problem is that the of the seven of eight characters that we follow on the journey only about half of them stand out. These being Colin Farrell's gangster Valka, Ed Harris' Mr Smith and Jim Sturgess' Janusz amongst the men and (not just) for fairly obvious reasons Saorise Ronan as Irina . That both Farrell and Harris just drop out of the story without us ever learning their fates is frustrating. There's also little sense of danger beyond that posed by the environment and the occasional wolf - either from pursuing guards or civilians who might want to make a quick ruble for turning the fugitives in, both of which are discussed but never seen.   What we're left with is the dynamics of the group, which hold the attention in the early scenes mainly thanks to Farrell as the volatile murderer who brings a dark, brooding charm to the mix. The dynamic shifts considerably once Ronan's runaway joins the group. She brings a spark and energy to the escapees and to the film. She has great presence and charisma and her demise in the desert is one of the few genuinely affecting moments in the film. Jim Sturgess is a solid and determined lead who anchors the film as the groupís de-facto leader and Ed Harris is as dependable as ever. The Way Back is as much about the bonds that form between these disparate individuals as it is about their journey (which may be why Weir chooses not to spend much time depicting the Himalayan stage of the trip) it's just a pity some of them just seem to blur into each other, if we knew them a bit better it we'd be more invested in their survival.   This is a good film, with great performances especially from Harris, Farrell and Ronan and it's consistently a joy to look at, it holds the attention throughout and has some quietly moving moments but as a whole it's perhaps a little less than the sum of its parts

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Post #: 7
RE: The Way Back - 16/1/2011 12:56:19 PM   
adambatman82

 

Posts: 11156
Joined: 15/12/2005
Wow, my review has disappeared. That seems to happen a lot to me, which is quite funny considering I never link to my site in reviews and there has been no spam in this thread. I don't quite know whats going on here.

The same thing happened with my review of Somewhere and Monsters.

< Message edited by adambatman82 -- 16/1/2011 12:59:10 PM >

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Post #: 8
RE: The Way Back - 16/1/2011 2:34:22 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
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There could have been spam you've not seen. It's not in the recycle bin and no notification is in here, so it can only have gone with a mass spam deletion I'm afraid. Some of them manage over 100 post before removed and they're all over the place - the majority are in news, but occasionally they randomly turn up somewhere else (we've had some in Off-Topic and places like Game Reviews as well).

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Post #: 9
Brilliant - 22/1/2011 2:59:54 AM   
BatSpider


Posts: 170
Joined: 6/7/2010
Films like this are an enema to the shithouse of your average modern multiplex. Peter Wier one of the greats. Pure cinema with a story really worth telling. Wow. Builds to a crescendo, takes you along, makes you want to know.

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Post #: 10
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