It’s been seven years since a Peter Weir film has hit the cinema. In 2003, the Academy Award-nominated director brought us the epic “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” Now, he has returned with what appears to be another masterpiece: “The Way Back.” Based on the novel “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek To Freedom” by Slavomir Rawicz, “The Way Back” follows a group of prisoners and their arduous journey to freedom after escaping a Soviet gulag.
As seen in the trailer, the men must forge 4,000 miles through the Himalayas, the Gobi Desert and Tibet. Somewhere along the journey a young girl accompanies them. Thinking she would be more of a hindrance, at first the escapees are hesitant to accept her into the fold, but she proves to be an asset and not a burden.
Gritty and harsh, the cinematography in “The Way Back” looks amazing. That’s because Weir enlisted Oscar-winning Russell Boyd, director of photography for “Master and Commander.” Just from watching the two-minute trailer, I can tell that along with Weir’s direction, Boyd was able to set the movie’s grueling tone.
Completing this powerful film is the cast. Starring Oscar-nominated Ed Harris and Golden Globe-winning Colin Ferrell, there is no doubt in my mind the acting will be outstanding. Jim Sturgess (“Across The Universe”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement,” “The Lovely Bones”) round out the recognizable talent involved in this ambitious project.
All though “The Way Back” may be too heavy for some, myself included, I think it will attract an audience for the simple fact the movie going public likes to have someone to root for. Come Dec. 29, when the film is released in Los Angeles, I’ll be rooting for every single prisoner’s survival.
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