The Way Back

The other day I watched “The Way Back” – a movie, allegedly inspired by real events, about a group of people who escaped a Soviet Gulag camp in Siberia back 1940s and walked their way to India.  I’ve heard nothing of this film until a friend recommended it – no trailer, no nothing.  When I read the brief plot description at IMDb, I got slightly worried that it would turn into one of those anti-Soviet propaganda movies.  My wife shared the worries and even decided not to watch the film with me.

She turned out to be right.  While there is plenty of breathtaking scenery shown in the film, and there is plenty of good acting, the propaganda makes it totally unwatchable.  The film basically pictures the Soviet Union as one huge prison, where the government is after every single person, be he innocent or not, old or young, male or female, Russian or not.  One doesn’t even have to know history to understand that that is a huge exaggeration.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because the film pictured Russians (or Soviets) in such a bad light.  It has nothing to do with whether they were Russians or not.  Even if they weren’t of my own nationality I’d be complaining.  I’m not even too sensitive to propaganda in the movies – Hollywood uses it all the time to praise the United States.  The problem is that in this movie, propaganda is the primary objective.  Everything else comes second.  And it’s really a pity.  Level down the propaganda and you’d have an excellent film on your hands.

As it is, I’d give it a 2 out of 5.  It’s difficult to watch and it leaves a dirty aftertaste.

Gone Baby Gone

I just came back from the cinema, where I watched “Gone Baby Gone“, a movie about kidnapping, directed by Ben Affleck and starring his brother Casey Affleck, together with such well known names as Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris.

I was a bit worried that this film will be too dramatic with a lot of gory details of a kidnapping.  Kidnapping in this case is not just of any person, but of a kid, as in a little girl.  The film was indeed dramatic, but the kidnapping wasn’t the main part of the drama.  It was more about right and wrong, and how difficult sometimes it is to see the right choice, not to mention, to pick it.  A couple of times it was reaching so far that I had to ask myself which choice was the right one, and even then I had a few moments of hesitation.  Finally though I have to agree with the choices made and reasoned for by Casey Affleck’s character.

The directing of this film is interesting, it being Ben Affleck’s debut (he did some directing before, but two movies didn’t make it to the big screen, while the other one was a short movie).  I’d say he did pretty good.  He needs more practice and all, but it was better than many of those seasoned directors I’ve seen.  Two things were sticking out a tiny bit.  First, the lack of experience in drama.  There were a few places in the film which could have been done more dramatic.  Heavier.  Stronger.  If you know what I man.  Secondly, the film is based on a novel (read: book), and it is too obvious.  The book seems to be good, but it wasn’t processed enough to make a movie out of it.  This area needs a bit more work.  But as I said, overall it was pretty good.

As a whole, I enjoyed the film, and it gave me a few things to think about.  For that, I’ll give it a solid 7 out of 10.


Watched “Radio” on DVD. At first I was a bit scared that it will be yet another movie about American football, but luckily it wasn’t. American football was just a theme for the movie. It could have been anything at all.

This film is an excellent drama. Excellent is very easy to measure in my case. If I cry like a baby, it is surely excellent. The story was good, but mostly it was due to the Cuba Gooding Jr. performance. I have already said several times that he is a very talanted actor, and I can repeat that any time. This guy is amazing. Others, of course, acted very good too in this film, but Cuba was unmatchable.

7 out of 10.

The Rock

Watched some good old action on DVD – “The Rock“. It is based on an old story of some cool marine kernel stealing some chemical weapons, taking hostages, setting base ins some secure location (like a prison), and demanding some money off the government. The details vary from film to film, but the main story holds still for many movies.

Anyway, the story is not the point of the film, because it is weak and well-known, and everyone can tell that noone is blowing up anything after like 3 minutes of watching it. The point of the film is entertainment. And this film provides a good portion of it. Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage team up nicely against Ed Harris and David Morse. There is plenty of shooting, fighting, and cool talk.

There could have been more destruction and hot women. Patriotic propaganda could have been cut out too without affecting the film that much. Photography and camera work were brilliant. Some frames from the movie could have been done into excellent posters. For example, the fighter jet in the hangar with huge American flag, or the reflection of the flag in the wet tarmac together with few running marines. These were just beautiful. There were plenty more there.

Anyway, I’ll give this film a 7 out of 10, since it measure pretty much to the level it claimed. It could have been better, but I have seen a lot worse.

Buffalo Soldiers

Watched “Buffalo Soldiers” on DVD now. This is an excellent film. It is a military film without war or boot camps. It is an a comedy with lots of sarcasm and irony. It is political and historical. It is action. It is very original.

This movie is based on an excellent story, has a great cast, appropriate soundtrack, good setup and decorations with nice special effects which don’t burn the eye. It is easy going, entertaining and does makes one think. What else can you ask from a movie?

I’m giving it a 10 out of 10. Guys in the tank and a “squashed beatle” ruled separately! :)