Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Way Back


Peter Weir doesn’t make a lot of movies (his last one was the wonderful {{Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
}} in 2003), and when he does I pay attention. This one is based on the true story of an escape from a Russian gulag in the early days of The Great Patriotic War, a 4000-mile trek through Siberia, the Gobi Desert, and the Himalayas … that is almost certainly a fabrication. It was a popular book, and then was debunked. So I wonder why Weir wanted to make it? It is beautiful to look at (one of the production companies was the National Geographic), and about half an hour too long. The hardships are unimaginable; it’s hard to believe anyone could actually do what they do here … and, of course, probably they didn’t. I enjoyed it, but I can’t recommend it.