Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Way Back

To the Everyman last night to see The Way Back, first rate Peter Weir film about the escape, sometime in the 1940s, from the Gulag to India, across ice, mountain, desert, etc.. The motto of the film is "Just keep walking", and at the end it becomes a metaphor for the fight against communism. However, the film's fibre is to be found in the relationships between the escapees. This is rarely done in words. There is for example a moment at which a young woman who has joined them tends the foot wounds of the old man who is most suspicious of her, a man whose 17 year old son had been executed by the communists. It is a moment full of meaning, with no words, made more than merely touching by the marvellous Ed Harris, one of Hollywood's few actors (as opposed to stars). I'd give him an Oscar for this scene alone. I doubt that the movie would have quite the force it has without his grizzled presence. Having said that, all the performances are good, and the direction unobtrusive (as ever with Peter Weir - he's very much a don't-look-at-me director) while giving us David Lean-sized landscapes. Highly recommended.

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