Reviews for 'The Way Back'
THE WAY BACK
Australian release: February 24
New Zealand release: March 31
Peter Weir doesn't make enough films.
If, on the other hand, the big delays between projects is the reason they're so damned good, I guess I can live with the wait.
Critiquing Weir's films is difficult for me, because I've never been able to work out exactly what it is I love about them. MASTER AND COMMANDER is the one that has thrown me the most; on the outside, it looked like a film that would not interest me in the slightest, yet it remains a film I revisit often. Multiple viewings have not reduced the film's elusiveness, and my inability to penetrate Weir's brilliance makes me a failure as a film critic. Er, moreso.
THE WAY BACK, the true story of a group of men who escaped from a Soviet Gulag in Siberia during World War Two, braving the deadly conditions in a bid for freedom, does the same thing. That afore-mentioned intangibility to Weir's direction makes even the most seemingly-mundane situations captivating. As with the dullest criticisms of LORD OF THE RINGS, the one you will hear most often levelled at THE WAY BACK is that it's a film about people walking. A lot. And, as with LOTR, this criticism misses the depth, both aesthetic and textual, inherent in the story. The emotional peaks and toughs are juxtaposed against the physical peaks and troughs that the characters traverse, and the mere fact that you remain rapt for 132 minutes is a testament to both the originating story and Weir's skills.
Jim Sturgess, who until now has spent his career being good in films I don't like, absolutely nails the lead role of Janusz. There is an energy to him, and it's his energy that keeps the film moving along. We know just enough about his past to care about his back story, and yet the back story does not bog the film down or give us some painfully overt "goal" to reach. Ed Harris and Colin Farrell are both superb, as is the incredible Saoirse Ronan. Russell Boyd's cinematography is astonishing, and the score from Burkhard von Dallwitz is likely to be one of the year's best.
Beautiful and captivating and genuinely touching, THE WAY BACK is another masterstroke from one of our best directors. I look forward to watching it many times.
The Way Back
January Soundtrack Picks
By Daniel Schweiger • January 24, 2011
It's been a twelve-year trek for Burkhard Dallwitz to re-unite with director Peter Weir since THE TRUMAN SHOW. And while Dallwitz certainly didn't undergo the trans-continental travails of THE WAY BACK, the stirring empathy that he gives to his second, and long overdue collaboration with Weir certainly pays tribute to the need for freedom, one that drove the film's characters from Siberia to India. As the soundtrack starts out with an eerie mix between dark orchestral sustains, gnarled chords, subdued ethnic percussion and an overall aura of unknowable doom, you might think you're listening to a soundtrack about Gulag escapees making their way across the surface of Mars, or the ruins of the post-apocalypse. But as their musical journey progresses, Dallwitz subtly brings in the string emotion, percolating guitars and more apparent Oriental atmospheres, conveying an aural landscape with vast stretches of fateful beauty to get across, That's not bad for a score that Weir barely seems to use in quest for documentary realism. Nevertheless, Dallwitz brings the journey to an end with an orchestrally thematic T.K.O that transforms his threatening start into the sound of spiritual transcendence. Here's hoping we won't have to wait so long before this remarkable duo's next cinematic journey.
The View Manchester Review
Review by Matthew Turner
The film is beautifully shot, with striking Cinematography by Russell Boyd, who makes the most of a variety of extreme locations (it was shot in Bulgaria, Morocco, and India). There's also a terrific score by Burkhard Dallwitz that really adds to the epic, David Lean-style sweep of the film .
The Way Back
by JO ANN SKOUSEN on JANUARY 29, 2011
The richly orchestrated original score by Burkhard Dallwitz contributes to the emotion of the film and keeps most of the audience in its seat till the end of the credits, savoring the experience.
Oliver Says THE WAY BACK Is A Tough But Admirable Journey
To top this there's a marvelously moving score by Burkhard Dallwitz which notches the film up to near Leanesque levels of epic indulgence.
……….a super uplifting score which will pleasingly play in your head for hours after.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Movie review: The Way Back
by John P. Meyer
Burkhard Dallwitz's score adds a weightiness to the dramatic events.
WRITTEN BY MIKE SCHULZ
SUNDAY, 23 JANUARY 2011 14:35
Burkhard Dallwitz's subtly magisterial score offer aural wonders to match the visual ones; The Way Back delivers poetry without the verbiage.
'The Way Back' again
Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 9:51 am · October 27th, 2010
Let's see, what else? Oh, the score. Man that didn't hit me as heavily the first time. Burkhard Dallwitz is really just working with a couple of pieces, but they're gorgeous pieces. It's sweeping work that, if it came from a composer who seems to be in the Academy "club" as it were (it's a very insular branch), then I'd have no problem predicting it. He deserved a notice 12 years ago for "The Truman Show" in my book.
'The Way Back' dramatizes escape from Siberia
Friday, January 21, 2011
By Barry Paris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Shot masterfully in Bulgaria by Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Boyd, it is gorgeously scored by Burkhard Dallwitz in classic fashion -- sans final "song" insult during the credits!
A very long journey enhanced by master filmmaker Peter Weir
By Geoff Berkshire
January 13, 2011
…the behind-the-scenes efforts remain top notch, especially the contributions of Weir's longtime director of photography Russell Boyd and "Truman Show" composer Burkhard Dallwitz.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Russell Boyd's talents as a cinematographer are so instinctive and natural we don't notice the genius at work, and Burkhard Dallwitz delivers a sparsely but effectively used score full of colour and drama, with some marvellous cues that accompany Boyd's great images (on locations in Morocco and Bulgaria).
Review by Louise Keller:
Burkhard Dallwitz's haunting music reinforces the repetitious and never-ending nature of this extreme challenge of human endeavour that ends with an overwhelming flush of emotion.