An adaption of one of the most fabled escape stories of the Second World War goes on general release this month. The Way Back, by Australian director Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander), follows the odyssey of a group of internees condemned to a cruel fate in a Siberian Gulag.
English actor Jim Sturgess stars as Polish hero Janusz, who engineers a breakout from the frost-bitten labour camp. His cohorts include Colin Farrell as a Russian convict and Ed Harris as a mysterious American. The group sets its sights on India, a 4000-mile trek away over the Himalayas.
Weir’s film is based on Sławomir Rawicz’s bestselling book The Long Walk, which was initially billed as “The True Story of a Trek to Freedom”. However, in 2006, a BBC correspondent revealed that the tale was largely fabricated. It transpired that the story was lifted from Witold Gliński, another Polish veteran who now lives with his English wife in a Cornwall bungalow.
The Way Back, which was shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India, is released in the UK on 26 December, and on 29 December in the U.S.