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The Way Back / Rated PG-13 for violence, language, nude drawings and shoes with holes in them. Lots and lots of holes. And mosquitoes. Lots and lots of mosquitoes.

4,000 miles is a long way to walk. When it is through Siberia in the dead of winter then across a desert in the summer time and adds in crossing the Himalaya’s during a snow storm you can imagine that it would be a tad bit grueling.

Just watching it for 2+ hours is an ordeal in itself. TWB is a film produced by National Geographic Entertainment. It certainly covers a lot of geography. Based on a “memoir” by Slavomir Rawicz (1915-2004) The Long Walk, published in 1956, was ghostwritten by Ronald Downing and based on his conversations with Rawicz. Post WWII records tell a different story than the one in the book.

The storyline is one of endurance and the human spirit. It relates an escape from a USSR Siberian work camp at the beginning of WWII. The main character and a few others decide to take a vacation from their sentences in Siberia by going on a little hike.


They start out in the cold. Then it gets hot. Then cold again. They go up and down hills and mountains. They ford rivers and eat bugs. Water is ice cold, then hard to find. They keep walking and walking hoping to find a Cabela’s or at least a Super Wal-Mart. Along the way a few of them die off. A female joins the team and proves to be a teen hiking whiz. While trekking they learn about each other and face up to the fact that socks don’t last forever. Just when they seem to be getting somewhere more mountains lie on the horizon. Just when you think they are out of the desert more sand lies ahead.

While they don’t celebrate Xmas with a tree they spend a lot of time hoping none fall down on them. Wolves mess up their sleep by howling all the time. Snakes slither around but eventually end up confirming that they taste like chicken.

Filmed on location in India as well as Morocco and Bulgaria, this is a great tale of high adventure and learning to live in the great out of doors.

The best known American actors are Ed Harris and Colin Farrell. Other names are not well known but all are excellent and have a lot of True Grit just taking on the grueling roles. The “memoir” this film is based on sold over a half a million copies. Since its publication some doubt has been cast on its authenticity as facts concerning the author’s experiences and release from the prison camp seem to shed doubt on his tale.

Fact or fiction The Way Back makes for a rousing adventure story. When you go wear good shoes.

Note: I went to a local grocery store after the movie. I parked in the furthest parking space from the entrance and walked the almost 400 feet to the door.

Fortunately the weather remained clear during my trip. Was not forced to eat any bugs or snakes on the journey.

Considering writing a book about the experience. Might need a good ghost writer. Apply via e-mail. Will let you know when I get an address.

Rated 3.0 out of 4.0 zillion steps. It’s a long way to Tipperary.


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