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Film Review: The Way Back (2010)

Directed by Peter Weir

This DVD is bleak, long and grim. In these respects it may accurately represent the allegedly true story of an escape from a Siberian gulag in 1942. It is based on the bestselling book The Long Walk by Slawomir Rawicz who claimed to have escaped the gulag with six other POWs and walked 4,000 miles south through the Gobi Desert, Tibet and the Himalayas to British-ruled India. In a concession to commercial pressures, the dialogue is in English with a Russian accent, which does little for its credibility. Colin Farrell portrays a violent Russian petty criminal with nationalistic ideas and a tattoo of Lenin and Stalin on his chest. As by far the most interesting character it is a shame that he decides to stay in Russia out of some misguided loyalty "to the motherland". As might be expected, the film makes some attempt to tie valid criticism of the Soviet Union into criticism of Communism by including, for instance, a desecrated church. Even if you can put this to one side (and these parts are small enough to ignore) the film is still only averagely enjoyable.