The Way Back
2010
***
Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Dragos Bucur, Gustaf Skarsgård

In 1941 a group of prisoners break out from a Siberian gulag. They attempt to survive the hostile landscape and make their way to Mongolia, but they’re forced to continue their journey through the Gobi Desert and over the Himalayas. The story is based on The Long Walk, Slawomir Rawicz’s autobiographical book whose authenticity has been brought into question in the recent years. However, the incredible 4,000 mile trek is not the only doubtful aspect of the story. The mix of nationalities and personalities (and genders, once a teenage girl joins them) in the group feels scripted, and they all speak English, rather conveniently. Peter Weir stages a beautifully shot and well-acted drama, but most of his characters are not fleshed out enough. It’s intended as an epic story of human endurance against the forces of nature, but the finished film is a bit monotonous and oddly unmoving.