We all went to see 'The Way Back' on Boxing Day. Directed by Peter Weir, it's the tale, set during the 2nd World War, of how a group of inmates escape from a Siberian prison camp and make a 4000 mile walk to freedom.
It's a premise that approached flat didn't really jingle my jangles but it is a terrific film. The recreation of life in a Soviet gulag is very authentic (Nelli, eagle-eyed as always spotted only a couple of errors) and the performance of Colin Farrell as a hardened criminal simply breathtaking. I had given up on Farrell after the nadir of 'Alexander' but since 'In Bruge' he seems to have gotten his mojo back. Nelli thought his Russian excellent and his singing spot-on!
The problem is that once Farrell vacates the film it sags and the emotional tension within the group of escapees ratchets down several turns. This isn't helped by the other characters being quite similar - especially when they're camouflaged by dirt and mosquito bites! - so the story becomes quite mono-emotional. Even the deaths of some of the principals doesn't have the emotional heft I think Peter Weir was striving for. The film is also at 133 minutes a tad too long.
But...it's still a very good movie and created lots of discussion with the Rees family. Well worth seeing if only for Russell Boyd's ravishing cinematography and, of course, that man Colin.
He'd make a great Vanka Maykov!
Rees Family Rating: 8/10