I can’t walk straight for about one hour, let alone twenty minutes in a sun-baked desert. Their 4000-mile walk, unlike any marathon, they don’t have a stop for a drinking fountain or even raise a white flag to surrender, is a dying cry for freedom . Because they don’t have any choices but to walk. A story about captivity amidst the ongoing war, this historical film recounts the mysterious travelers who escaped prison, from Siberia to India.
Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is convicted a spy to the soviet union by her wife, who was forced to reveal the information due to torture. He ends up in a camp in Siberia and later meets Mr. Smith (Ed Harris) and other people who became an accomplice to the escape. After knowing the way out , and luckily a bad weather to cover their attempt, they cut the wire fence and is chased by the guards.
After the escape’s success, it follows a series of long walk to India (for safety), meeting a Polish girl on the way and all they have to think is food, which by far the hardest apart from water. Janusz leads the pact because he knows essential to their survival: navigation. They kill some wolves, get stung by a mosquitoes ( which made their faces unrecognizable), cross a desert (the culprit of their deep red and painful skin). Their attempt tries to show how a man can endure his limitations.
I know the story was based from a book but it would have been great if he twisted it a little (or a lot) and added more thorns in the characters’ throat. Peter Weir could have thrown some wild animals on the prowl or a conflict in the character. He concentrated mainly in the journey which made the movie like a BBC documentary but with a drama. The film successfully shows the message how the natural selection, in nature, works but no doubt it could have been better.
Irena , the Polish girl, was the most wonderful character portrayed by Saoirse Ronan with such innocence and subtlety. She was the one who held the story at its optimum poignancy and the one to connect each other lives that paid off in the end, when they are slowly dying. Colin Farrell as Valka, the mischievous thief and assassin, pulls out tension as he suggest ways for survival like cannibalism. With his daunting tattoo and knife, there are times when you will feel a chill in your spines.
The beauty of the film lies in the cinematography. As the camera follows their quest, it shows different landscapes, a distant shot, perfect-picture of their environment. In addition, details are not spoon-fed they are more likely to be discovered on director’s chosen scenes and signals. No need for too much talk. They can act.
PS: How should I write “Polish girl”? A small “p” or big “P”?