by David Schuster
"The Way Back" is not about the Bulls getting back to national prominence...although that's becoming a pretty good story in itself. Rather it's a movie based on loose facts of a band of prisoners who escape from a Siberian gulag during World War II and walk 4,000 miles to freedom. And you thought the Cubs winning the World Series was impossible.
This movie has received almost no publicity and could be out of the theaters even before you read this review but it is worth seeing, even if you have to rent it. The photography alone is outstanding as it takes you through forests, deserts and mountains. And it shows you how the human spirit can win out in a battle against the elements.
Peter Weir directs this movie and he has a fine international cast led by the always good Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess. All three, and the rest of the escapees, show the hardships and desperation of going through brutal heat and cold while lacking food and water. You constantly ask yourself during this movie...could I do this?
Both the positive and negative of this movie is the length of it. I started squirming in my seat as they reached the great wall of China knowing that they still had a thousand miles to go. I guess it wouldn't be easy to condense such a long trek into a shorter flick but somehow Forest Gump ran across the country in an abbreviated time frame. That's really my only complaint (the length). The acting is top notch and the scenery was exquisite and I give "The Way Back" - a home run - three and a half stars.