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A harrowing journey of a movie
The Way Back (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
The Way Back (DVD)
Advantages: Characters, cinematography/landscape shots, good use of musical score, quite engrossing, ending
Disadvantages: the story is a bit slow for some perhaps, a bit too dark (in terms of lighting) at times perhaps?
This movie follows a group of Russian (Siberian) Gulag prisoners who plan to break free and head for India, a journey in a very harsh environment that consists of travelling by foot many thousands of miles. Set in the 1940s when the second world war was starting to fully 'grip' the world, this is a partially war based drama movie - can these people escape and manage to survive the perilous journey to the hopefully safer country of India? at what toll is this and will they be traced? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is a sobering account which doesn't sugar coat the situation. It paints a rather bleak, stark and barron picture of the journey these people went on which brings up moral questions in terms of what the right thing to do is at certain points in the movie - whether to somewhat prey on the weaker individuals if it is to help the greater good of the group and suchlike.
There becomes suspicions within the group at times, the motives of others come into doubt - one character is shown from fairly early on as having dubious motives and its hinted at that the journey their about to embark on, that what others say shouldn't necessarily be taken seriously, which throws up even more questions. As the movie continues and the groups journey truly gets underway, things get more interesting. The movie is clearly quite gritty and dark, with a fair few darker shots, literally in that the lighting is quite dark so seeing all thats going on is a bit difficult at times but then in a sense that adds to the dark, gloomy undertone of the movie and having thought about it, its probably partly to do with the part of the world its set in (Russia - near to Siberia and Mongolia I believe), with where it is in terms of the equator, it may get darker sooner etc. anyway the characters all have their own intricacies.
On one hand the story is rather slow and winding but on the other hand, there are some very tense scenes which make you fear for the characters affected. There are some quite impressive panoramic landscape shots which highlight the environment the group were travelling in (I say were as if its a true story but this seems to be in doubt - its loosely based on memoirs which have been heavily challenged for their accuracy, as far as I'm led to believe - if interested, you can read about it here:- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1023114/faq#​ ;.2.1.1). The musical score is quite 'earthy', mainly instrumental and helps add to the atmosphere, tension and again bring home the barrenness of the situation at some points, so thats quite effective. There are political and historical elements to the story of course, bare in mind this is set in the early '40s, so WWII was just at the outset - indeed there are Polish people featured who were prisoners at the Gulag, so that's might be worth pointing out. History has never been my strong point by any means really, so I don't feel im too qualified to criticise such references really.
Personally, the performances that stood out the most for me were that of Colin Farrell (who, coincidentally, again portrays the rather more rebellious, macho type figure who's rather self centered and domineering initially) and Saoirse Ronan, the seemingly strong yet adolescent female character. She tries to paint a certain picture of herself at first and others are sceptical but the group dynamics towards her change and she does well to portray such a ultimately vulnerable character. Maybe I'm biased as those are the two main actors/actresses I recognise (their both of irish descent - coincidence? I've no idea really), as its also worth pointing out that many characters are played by foreign actors who I can only presume from their surnames, come from eastern Europe or otherwise similar regions to where this movie was set in and filmed.
There isn't a large amount of violence present in this movie, its more the scenes of these characters slowly wasting away, with their faces looking certainly the worse for wear that will upset and scare younger viewers, hence the 12 certificate rating - I couldn't imagine many younger kids or teens wanting to watch such a movie or really enjoying it as such, though this isn't really a movie you 'enjoy' in that sense of the word, if you know what I mean. There is some blood present but the majority of the violence is mainly hinted at rather than shown in any real detail, I'd say.
Have no doubts about it, this is a bleak movie but it does maintain a story and I felt I wanted to follow the journey these characters were on, to its ultimate ending or destination. Its perhaps not the most engaging move for everyone, if you want constant visual action to keep you entertained then this isn't for you but as a slowly winding movie thats believable and quite atmospheric, with good character development, its certainly worth a watch - a competent, rather harrowing movie indeed, one with a very moving ending it has to be said as well.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, if this appeals then I'd say its worth a watch as the performances are good, the story is interesting, its somewhat original and it features some good landscape shots as well as a particularly engrossing musical score. Its a rather harrowing and sobering movie but its certainly well made - some thought went into this and it shows. It won't appeal to everyone but for what it is, I'm happy to recommend it.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and many thanks for all rates and comments (rates especially at the moment, their much needed! thanks again).
Summary: A well made movie thats rather harrowing