Movie review: ‘The Way Back’

The Way Back

The Details

The Way Back
Three stars
Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan
Directed by Peter Weir.
Rated PG-13
Beyond the Weekly
Official movie site
IMDb: The Way Back
Rotten Tomatoes: The Way Back

Peter Weir’s The Way Back may be based on a supposedly true account that’s been mostly discredited, but that doesn’t make it any less fascinating. Did a group of prisoners really escape a Siberian gulag in 1940 and walk more than 4,000 miles to end up in India? Maybe not, but Weir’s version of the story is still gritty and compelling, if a little slow, with quietly commanding performances from Jim Sturgess as the group’s leader and Ed Harris as an indomitable American who inspires his companions to press on. Weir and cinematographer Russell Boyd effectively convey the grandeur and enormity of the landscape these men have to navigate, and the actors embody the desperation of such an extreme endeavor. The minor characters are a bit interchangeable, and Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan both disappear from the story without making much of an impact. But Weir is as unflagging as his characters, delivering an old-fashioned, unpretentious epic that reliably gets where it needs to go.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

Get more Josh Bell

Previous Discussion:

  • Returning to the Palms, LVFF 2018 offers talked-about indie films shorts programs, animation, student films, parties and more.

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story opens Valleywide on May 25.

  • Movie screens are becoming more like TVs, and robots will serve you frozen yogurt.

  • Get More Film Stories
Top of Story