Thursday, January 06, 2011

Welcome, my untold legions of dearly beloved loyal readers, to 2011, apologies for the Yuletide hiatus and let's kick off a most excellent new year (power of positive thinking) with a review of an epic movie of an epic journey 'The Way Back'



There are very few absolute rules in selecting my movies experiences, truths seldom stand the test of time and surprises can happen (maybe Will Ferrell will one day be as funny as he thinks he is) however some things just seem to be absolutes: Russell Crowe is a very good actor, Ridley Scott and Peter Weir are very good directors, Angelina is not a great actor but so what? and, critically for our choice of movie last night, Ed Harris is a sure-fire, 100%, dependable class act. I've been a fan since the Abyss and so far never been disappointed.

'The Way Back' is the tale of a mismatched bunch of escapees from a Siberian Gulag and their harrowing trek all the way to India, it's a long walk, a long movie and crucially one of the producers is National Geographic, so if you'd like to see how awesome our planet can look this is a relatively easy way to do so, it's a beautifully shot travelogue with frequent breaks for the human story.

The story, true or not, (there seem to be doubts) is an impressive tale, the characters in the film are very human, the tension is well managed. It's tough to get into it in the early stages, in the grimy horror of the early days in the camp and the ensuing escape it's confusing when everyone is equally beardy and weatherproofed it's hard to track the characters but it does get clearer.

The estimable Mr Harris makes it for me, sagacity, sadness and strength portrayed in an almost imperceptible nod. Colin Farrel is workmanlike as a hardened criminal and Jim Sturgess very good in the lead role as the competent and driven leader of the band of refugees. There's humour, it's not a heavy or preachy film but, it's not a film for everyone, the delightful Mrs Stuffy made an apposite observation, it's very interesting but not really entertaining ... Wise words spoken during one of her less drowsy moments.

A haiku from the tundra ?


Four thousand k walk
If true it's impressive, but
If not, still awesome

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