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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The Way Back (2011)


First film I review from the year 2011, and it’s starting off pretty nice.

After narrowly escaping from a wretched World War II Siberian labor camp, a small band of multinational soldiers desperately undertakes a harrowing journey to traverse Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on foot.

It’s been awhile since Peter Weir has directed a film. Probably about 7 years since Master and Commander came out, but he brings back his dominance with this good trip.

The best thing about this film is its amazing cinematography. The story itself takes us through the forests, blizzards, desserts, mountains, hills, cliffs, and everything else just looks so beautiful. You can’t help but get lost in some of the sights that this film has cause you can feel the loneliness sometimes that is within these guys, mainly because of the terrain their moving around.

However, my main problem with the film is that it’s story seems like it would keep you involved the whole time throughout, when in reality, your just sort of watching these people move from one environment to another. You never really feel connected to these characters, and although you may root for them a bit you never find yourself going: “OMG I hope they survive, they are so awesome”. Now take it for granted that was really gay what I just said there, but the fact is that you won’t be cheering these guys on with all your heart and soul, because the film doesn’t really give them to you. The script was OK to say the least, with some good humor here and there, and enough dramatic points as well, the only problem is that it could have been better, and I was a little bit bummed that I didn’t get more of dialogue that caught me dramatically.

I think the one thing you’ll like about this film the most is that it’s actually kind of fun. Your watching these guys go from Point A, to Point B, with all of this beautiful terrain, and you can’t help but enjoy yourself. Weir gives it that old-school feeling of an adventure film that were made from about 40 or 50 years ago, and there’s no problem with that because he keeps it at least interesting.

The performances in this film are pretty good, but nothing really special. Jim Sturgess gets a starring role here, and for the most part does a fine job with it, giving his character the bravery we all want. Colin Farrell is pretty good in this bringing a lot of comedy to his role, but it’s not one of his more memorable roles, so it’s kind of a whatever role. Ed Harris does the best job here as Mr. Smith, the bitter, untrusting loner with many secrets. He does the bust job, losing so much weight for this role, and bringing a lot of heart to his character. Saoirse Ronan is also good here, and the scenes with her and Harris are where the heart of this film lies.

Consensus: It’s not as emotionally engaging as you would expect, but The Way Back features some beautiful sights to see, and a good story to back up an entertaining movie.

7/10=Rental!!

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6 responses to “The Way Back (2011)

  1. moviegeek January 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    We seem to agree on pretty much everything. ;)

  2. Encore Entertainment January 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I really wanted to see this one, but it doesn’t look like I will any time soon.

  3. paolocase June 17, 2011 at 3:58 am

    Funny that this film is the precedent for Saoirse Ronan playing a feral child and not Hanna.

    In general I feel as if the film’s best players/characters are actually written out of the movie too soon. But it’s well shot.

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