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.
Yesterday I watched “Fifty Dead Men Walking” in the cinema. As with almost any European movie, there was no promotion of it, no posters, announcements, or trailers. So I had no idea what was it about when I went to see it.
The film is based on a book, which is based on a real life story of Martin McGartland – a guy who was hired by British police to spy on IRA back in 1980’s. I haven’t read the book and I don’t know much about Ireland, but that location at that time had a lot of potential for an interesting movie.
However, this movie failed to utilize that potential. First of all, it was badly executed technically – plenty of reflections, shades, weird lighting, and lots of hand help camera work were quite annoying. Maybe that’s just me, or maybe that’s what Hollywood movies do to one’s tastes.
While for a real life story is quite impressive, the way it was conveyed in the film was rather slow and sporadic at times. It was difficult to understand the time frames, as well as some characters in the film seemed to be out of place.
Overall, an average movie for 3 stars. Perhaps your own opinion of it would be quite different though. If you want to see this film, try to get it on DVD – it’s a bit painful for the eyes on a big screen.
Went to see “Crossing Over” in the cinema. Not that I was particularly waiting for it or anything – it’s just that there isn’t much else too see these days, and a duo of Harrison Ford and Ray Liotta in the same film sounded a tiny bit interesting.
The film turned out to be pretty average. There was a lot of good acting, but the script and directing just weren’t up to the par. Multiple main characters, each with his own life, all getting connected to each other the closer the movie went to the end, plus a social problem of immigration being so hot in the USA, these all reminded me of another movie. It’s surprising how similar this film is to “Crash“. But comparing it to “Crash” doesn’t do it any good either.
The story lacks depth and detail. People often behave in weird waves and no explanation is given. Or, when given, it often is unbelievable. There were suposed to be a lot of drama, but the story not having enough depth, all drama turns into depressive non-stop crying. And what’s more disappointing, after bringing up attention to a serious issue, the film fails to make any points at all, or leave any food for thought.
As I said, good acting minus good directing and holes in the story make up for an average film. Rating – 3 stars, average.
Addendum for those who saw the movie. Scene in the supermarket with four out five robbers shot. Do you still wonder what happened? He got out of bullets. Scene with the singing of the national anthem – that was a joke from the editors, which was added after the final cut. Just kidding. Both times.