Review – The Way Back

One of those television shows you always hear people talking about is ‘Man Verses Wild’ where survival expert Edward ‘Bear’ Grills puts himself in extreme situations to show you how to survive in the wild. ‘The Way Back’ is like a two hour version of ‘Man Verses Wild’ directed by the great Peter Weir, that starts out promising but ends up being a dull hike through the Himalayas. ‘The Way Back’ is based on the true story of a group of men who escape from the Siberian Gulag and trek over 4000 miles across the world’s roughest terrain to freedom. The story of survival is inspiring and the scenery is breathtaking but this is a boring film that fails to engage you in the experience.

The scenery and locations in this film are fantastic and well shot, from the crisp snow capped mountains to the barren sunburnt deserts, it’s all picture perfect and beautiful to watch. Director Peter Weir (Truman Show & Dead Poets Society) guides the camera nicely with great cinematography from Russell Boyd. Being a big Peter Weir fan I was a little disappointed with the rest of the film because it never really kicks into gear. The characters aren’t engaging enough and despite battling the elements all they do it walk. I suppose that’s all they did in real life but besides the odd sandstorm or lack of water there is never any real peril or drama. When they finally hit areas where you expect them to get into trouble it suddenly jumps forward and they’ve climbed a giant mountain with ease. I was looking forward to the part where the characters make their way through the Himalayas but it skips over how they did it which is a major letdown. The acting is pretty standard with the film’s most interesting characters making early exits or just disappearing altogether, credit must go to Colin Farrell and Ed Harris who bring some life to their parts.

‘The Way Back’ is great to look at but bring a coffee just in case you fall asleep because it’s a real snoozer, not the best work from Peter Weir.


The Popcorn Junkie