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The Way Back


Nathan Westfall
The Broadside

“The Way Back” is the story of a group of men that escape a Russian Gulag during World War II and walk 4000 miles from northern Russia to India.

This film was an inspiring work that displays the strength and perseverance of the human spirit. From the very beginning of their journey, to the last legs, these men refuse to let each other give up hope until they have reached their goal.
The film stars big names: Ed Harris, Collin Farrell and Jim Sturgess. These actors do a splendid job at carrying a film that can be somewhat slow.

Viewers must keep in mind they enter this film that the story is about men that are walking for thousands of miles; there will not be a plethora of action sequences. The over arching theme is the triumph of will and the feeling of accomplishment that the men feel when they reach their destination.

Spoiler Alert: a part of the plot is revealed below

The only real complaint that I have is the exiting of Farrell’s character right at the midpoint. I found him to be the most interesting of the bunch and was sorely disappointed when I realized that his departure was permanent. Although Harris and Sturges perform well to the end, it was Farrell’s portrayal of the mad Russian opportunist that elevated this film. After Farrell’s character takes his own path, the viewer is forced to concentrate more on the struggle of the men and have fewer moments of levity.

Nathan Westfall can be reached at



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