Movie Review: The Way Back (2010)

the way back poster

The background of The Way Back is as interesting as the film itself. It is loosely based on the book The Long Walk (1955) by Slawomir Rawicz, who was a Polish POW in the Soviet Gulag.  Controversy dates back to when the book was first published as there was no evidence that the events really happened, much less were truthful encounters of Rawicz himself. These two issues have boiled over for decades and probably will never be entirely put to rest. BBC claims that the alleged escape is in fact not his true story as he was released and did not take part in such a prison break. Instead, the events are said to be of another man, Polish WW2 veteran Witold Gliński, who’s claims will probably continue to be questioned as well. Investigations by BBC and the director, Peter Weir, suggest Glinski’s claims are true.

Siberian gulag escapees walk 4000 miles overland to freedom in India.” (IMDb)

So the movie is not an adaptation of the book but rather an inspired piece of (fictional) work. With that being said, this noise and controversy behind the book/film should not diminish the story much less our history in any way.The film is a drama set in the middle of a war and invasion about a group of prisoners who escape form Siberia and embark on ‘the long walk’ to India. This 4000-mile journey was the equivalent of survival and freedom. Languages in the film include English, Polish and Russian and it was shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India. The Way Back is a human story with depth as it plays on faith, instinct and raw emotion. The film not only focuses on the journey and on the people taking the journey as everyone in the diverse cast pull off remarkable performances. The journey itself is larger than life with stunning visuals and harsh nature.

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Starring: Jim Sturgess // Colin Farrell // Ed Harris // Saoirse Ronan

Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes // Meta Critic // Screen Rant // Twitch Film

aparoo’s words: war, invasion, prison, encampment, life, death, survival, freedom, peace, journey

aparoo says 5/5

Stream: YouTube part 1 // part 2

photo credit: Google Image Search

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Movie Review: Katyn (2007) – Polish Movie

KATYN poster

Finally diving into Polish cinema, I thought I would start off by watching one of the country’s most acclaimed films from one the country’s best directors. Andrzej Wajda‘s 2007 Best Foreign Language Film nominee KATYN is a powerful wartime-historical-drama  about the infamous Katyn massacre. For me, the film held similar emotion and significance as Defiance (2008) and Schindler’s List (1993).

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The film managed a solid plot line and pace without undermining the tragic story. Likewise, I feel that it held its integrity in dealing with specific WW2 content, much of which was quite morbid, unjust and inhumane. KATYN, is a film that overcomes the controversies and politics that covered up a massacre for 50 years and tells the world that the Polish people have continued to live.

Plot Summary

“An examination of the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest in 1940. ” (IMDb)

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The Katyn massacre is a topic I was ignorant to until coming across this film. I probably spent equal time (to the film’s duration) on Google/  Wikipedia reading details of the massacre and surrounding events before I finally hit the play button. I think the film holds its weight in context to both  the educated and uneducated viewers. Social Studies/ History was one of my favourite subjects throughout high school because I’m a firm believer in finding your own facts, searching for your own answers and uncovering your own truths in life.

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Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes // The Guardian //  ITP World //

Articles: Film/ Director background // NY Books

Did you know: the film was based on a book

Did you know: the film was personal for the director because his father was a victim

aparoo’s words: history, war, world war II, drama, memorial, massacre, propaganda, Soviets, Nazi-Germany, Poland, occupation, freedom, injustice

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aparoo says: 5/5

Stream: YouTube (720p HD)