June 3, 2013

The Way Back

Peter Weir, 2010

          Set during World War II, a group of prisoners escape from a Siberian labor camp and brave the harsh winter conditions and venture through the freezing snow-covered forests, sand-ridden desert, and the Himalayan mountains in an effort to ultimately seek refuge in India. Based on a true story.
          Peter Weir takes you on a long journey much like Edward Zwick does in Defiance (2008). Instead of focusing on Jewish prisoners though, this story focuses on mostly Polish prisoners but also an American (Ed Harris) and a Russian (Colin Farrell). While the story is at times dragging along, Weir does a good job of really focusing on the surrounding environmental struggles and the sheer will they have to survive. Not only do they have to worry about the harsh conditions that surround them, they also have to be very conscious of anyone who may try to retrieve a bounty for their head if seen by the wrong person. The film is very effective at studying human morality in many ways, especially during a time when the world around you is being destroyed. In the end all you're left with is the urge to keep walking, and every step counts. By the time the group reaches the desert, and sees the miles of scolding earth in front of them - you assume that most people would simply give up. The main attraction to the film are the beautiful landscapes... the rocky tundra, endless mountains. Good acting manages the story well, but its a long journey and by the end you are exhausted along with them.

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