Playing as part of the Film4 Survival Stories season, The Way Back is a adapted from the bestselling account by Polish army lieutenant Slavomir Rawicz, charting the epic story of prisoners escaping a Soviet gulag in Siberia in 1940 and attempting to trek the 4000 miles to the safety of the Indian frontier.
Polish prisoner Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is the leader, and among his group are the cynical ‘Mr Smith’ (Ed Harris), Yugoslavian accountant Zoran (Dragos Bucur), and gangster Valka (Colin Farrell), who is escaping gambling debts as much as the prison itself.
Once they’re out, they’re joined by Polish orphan Irena (Saoirse Ronan), but the bitterly inhospitable Siberian landscape presents the group with challenges far more formidable than breaching the prison walls. Weir brings the battle of humans versus elements to visceral life, and the compelling drama has a panoramic scope.
The Way Back – Wednesday at 11.15pm on Film4.
Photo: ©2010 – Newmarket Films