The Way Back
- 2 hr 13 min
The Way Back is a 2010 movie that tells the story of three men who escape from a Siberian gulag and survive a 4,000 mile walk to reach freedom in India. The international cast includes Colin Farrell playing a Russian thug named Valka, and Ed Harris playing an American engineer who says his name is Mr. Smith. Jim Sturgess, in the role of Janusz Wieszczek, is the leader of the original band of seven escapees. He is a Polish officer tormented by memories of his wife, who denounced him as a spy after being tortured by the Soviets. Along the way, the men are joined by a young Polish girl played by Saoirse Ronan, who drinks vodka like a man and appears to be willing to say anything in order to stay alive. Directed by Peter Weir, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup. The cinematography has also won wide acclaim for depicting the harsh beauty of Siberia, the Gobi desert and the Himalayas. Some news sources including the BBC have raised questions about its original claims to being inspired by true events. In any case, the movie is deeply grounded in the impact of Soviet Communism on European history.