The Way Back Directed by: Peter Weir Starring: Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell Rating: PG-13 Release Date: January 21, 2011
TRAILER SCORE: 7/10
MY THOUGHTS: This trailer plays very well, and has an excellent build to it, thanks primarily to effectively employed crescendo. I found myself being drawn more and more into this trailer, and therefore more and more drawn into the idea of seeing this one on the big-screen. Although in the end, for me, the trailer's effectiveness was overkill, as ultimately it needed only to say, "this is Peter Weir's latest."
The trailer starts off as man versus man, but quickly jolts to man versus nature -- which seems to stick for the duration -- and one gets the feeling that The Way Back is more of an adventure tale than it is a tale about the gulag. But we're not talking carefree adventure here; this looks to be a story predominantly about survival, and survival in the most brutal of conditions. The beautiful cinematography, exciting music and gorgeous shooting locations conspire to instill a tangible sense of wonder. Knowing the film is based on a true story, combined with the way in which it has been marketed, allows for one to somewhat safely assume a happy ending (otherwise it would have been called Not the Way Back, right?). I believe it's fair to say the average viewer would want a happy ending here, and although the trailer does allude to danger, death and despair, I get the feeling this film will be an uplifting one.
Colin Farrell, as he's aged, has impressed me more and more. Jim Strugess' stock has been up-and-down, and I've always had a difficult time digesting Ed Harris, so the cast is kind of a mixed bag, but under Weir's direction, I'm not sure that it matters too much. It looks like Saoirse Ronan's character should add an interesting wrinkle to the tale, changing the dynamic of the traveling band of survivors considerably.
Six-time academy award nominee, Director Peter Weir, has so many incredible films under his belt -- The Mosquito Coast, The Year of Living Dangerously, Galipoli, just to name a few of my favorites -- he's been an extremely solid director for the past 30 years, and it's very tempting here to just list off every single film he's done since 1981. The Way Back is Weir's first film in 7 years, his first since Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. This is cause for celebration.