The Way BackImage Entertainment
Inspired by an incredible true story, "The Way Back" begins in 1940 when seven prisoners attempt the impossible: escape from a brutal Siberian gulag. Thus begins a treacherous 4,500-mile trek to freedom across the world's most merciless landscapes. They have little food and few supplies. They don't know or trust each other. But together, they must withstand nature at its most extreme. Their humanity is further tested when they meet a teenage runaway who begs to join them on their quest.
Image delivers a solid presentation for this beautifully filmed epic. The film starts in the dark and cold depths of Siberia and the image is almost devoid of color. There is plenty of stark contrast though and decent depth and dimension. Fine object detail is a bit lacking early on in the film but improves drastically as the film progresses. After the escape we see a lot more detail but color rendition improves as well. I noticed some very slight banding early on in the film but it never seems to intrude later on in the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is very good with excellent imaging and plenty of surround activity. Dialogue is balanced perfectly within the mix and the natural ambiance makes for a compelling soundstage.
This would have been the perfect film to add supplements to. Some insight into the real story behind the film, the fate of the some of the characters portrayed, but unfortunately the only real feature is a making-of featurette that explores the making of the film with the director and cast interviews. While this is a good feature, I think there was a missed opportunity here.
The Way Back is a grueling look at an incredible journey from captivity to freedom. The performances are solid and so is the direction. While not quite as epic as some of Weir’s other films, this was still a great piece of human drama. Recommended.