The Way Back - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Way Back Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 12, 2016
The man-versus-the-natural world story is in Weir's wheelhouse, and Harris and Farrell get into a scene-stealing duel. Worth the trek.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
February 18, 2011
Weir has always loved atmospheric locales and group dynamics, and here he makes the most of both
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
February 3, 2011
Eventually the film itself is something of an endurance test, and not as rewarding as it hopes to be. But it's a worthy venture, earnest and well-produced and occasionally gripping.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
January 31, 2011
The abiding sensation, at the end, is one not of fulfillment but of exhaustion.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 31, 2011
This is an impressive production and technical feat, but through most of it, I kept thinking about how difficult the filming conditions must have been, and not about the lives of the men in front of me.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 31, 2011
he long stretches between stations make The Way Back an arduous road.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
January 28, 2011
The Way Back represents an exquisite example of style over substance, of vast visuals dwarfing the characters and nearly swallowing the story whole.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
January 22, 2011
The result is a film that seems simultaneously grand and skimpy. For all its faults, it's an honorable effort, though. I hope Weir doesn't wait seven more years for his next film.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
January 22, 2011
There's little human conflict; Sturgess never doubts himself, and the men mostly get along; even Farrell's gangster is on best behavior.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 21, 2011
The Way Back is fascinating until it becomes an ordeal.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
January 21, 2011
The overall metaphor Weir was aiming for - this idea of enemies so powerful and a war so menacing and confusingly big that no place seems safe except a place absurdly far away - comes through clearly and stays with you.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
January 21, 2011
The film largely misses its opportunities to reflect the enormity of communism, choosing instead the route of a conventional adventure yarn.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dan Kois
Washington Post
January 21, 2011
Weir's movie is superbly made, but its fancy-dancing around history gives a hint of inauthenticity to a film that otherwise thrives on its reverence for historical detail.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
January 20, 2011
It's impossible not to cry at their suffering, but whether you'll feel anything is another story.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 20, 2011
There are exhilarating moments, and there are some undeniably tense scenes. Mixed in, however, is possibly more trudging than you're going to see in any other film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 20, 2011
Whether it's true or not, this portrait of desperate, determined people surviving blizzards and dust storms and crossing mountains and deserts is a gruff and uplifting celebration of how much people can take and how much they value freedom.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 20, 2011
Despite a strong cast that includes Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan, we never really get to know any of the sloggers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 20, 2011
This artful tale of survival against the elements - radiating terror and beauty - continues Peter Weir's fascination with characters trapped by worlds they didn't make.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 20, 2011
How many new ways can you dramatize icy gales, parched deserts, agonizing thirst, shimmering mirages? And how do you step up the pace of a story that's about people walking?
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 20, 2011
"The Way Back" is a return to the historical epics of David Lean, a story of survival under unthinkable physical and spiritual hardship.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 20, 2011
This doesn't sound like a lot of fun to watch, but Weir - in his first movie since 2003's "Master and Commander" - makes it mesmerizing and occasionally lyrical.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 20, 2011
Whether it is truth, fiction or, most likely, a little of each, the story Weir tells is a powerful parable of man's charge for freedom and his humbling by nature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 20, 2011
The movie's grueling, inspiring, astonishing to look at. You come out feeling you've traveled half the planet. As ordeal movies go, though, this one's oddly easy to shake off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
January 20, 2011
Well-acted and artfully (though conventionally) made, The Way Back tells a compelling story, regardless of whether it's based on truth or a fabrication.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 20, 2011
The scenes of brute survival - hunting for food, improvising shelter, making wind-and-snow masks out of sheets of birch bark - are vivid. The men are not.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
January 20, 2011
Gorgeous to look at, and a matter-of-fact paean to the possibility of human decency, The Way Back makes the genre-juggling dream quest of Inception look like child's play.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 20, 2011
Weir and editor Lee Smith seem preoccupied with hustling events along, and nervous about boring us for even a second. The result is a brisk trot through a story that is, at heart, a tough slog.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 20, 2011
Not every incredible story makes a compelling movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 19, 2011
No one will go away disappointed or indifferent. It's a movie that sticks with you like Elmer's glue.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
January 18, 2011
There's even a sense in which the movie is about its own logistics, although it would take a fanatic like Werner Herzog to turn that into compelling cinema.
Top Critic
Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
December 29, 2010
That a production this ambitious has been financed and distributed outside the studio system throws a curveball to anyone who thinks "independent film" can mean only urban moderns sitting in an apartment bemoaning their ennui.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Trevor Johnston
Time Out
December 21, 2010
For all the film's occasional peaks, we're left with the sense of a story so incredible even this cinematic visionary is struggling to contain it on celluloid.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
September 8, 2010
An impressive but not especially immersive true story of four POWs who escaped the Siberian Gulags and crossed the Himalayas on foot to freedom.
Top Critic
Stephen Farber
Hollywood Reporter
September 7, 2010
A harrowing epic that will not be an easy sell, but it finds Weir again working at the top of his game.