Sunday, September 5, 2010

High on "Telluride": The Way Back

As we begin to close out this game changing weekend, we take a look at one of the films that, due to just bad luck, didn't make the cut for the awards season. It's got nothing to do with the film's quality. An Oscar campaign requires a lot of money and attention, and Newmarket Films just wasn't willing to make that leap of faith. Nonetheless, we'll still be seeing The Way Back in theaters this January, and judging by these reviews (what few there are), it should be a cut above the rest of the films out there.
Kris Tapley (In Contention): "Peter Weir has made a career out of visual feasts with thematic resilience. Some might consider him the David Lean of our time, and with good reason. But the key difference is that Weir has slowly developed an art house niche out of epic scale filmmaking. This kind of thing obviously doesn’t lend itself to studio interest, especially in a day and age when those at the top are frequently number crunchers and business types lacking the cinema knowledge (and appreciation) base of their predecessors. As such, a film like The Way Back waited forever for a company to bite, and now that I’ve seen it, I’m convinced it’s an embarrassment and a blight on many records that the film and Weir have been left out in the cold, because this is quietly profound, epic, bold filmmaking at its very best."
Eugene Novikov (Cinematical): "The first half of The Way Back is Peter Weir at his hypnotic best. Always adept at breathing life into landscapes – see the frightening outback vistas of Gallipoli, the mythic Central American jungle of The Mosquito Coast, and even the idyllic false suburbia of The Truman Show – Weir all but personifies Siberia and (later) the Mongolian desert. They seem threateningly to keep pace with our human protagonists. The snow-covered trees and scorching sand dunes become the terrain of an alien planet. The mines of the gulag are a steam-spitting horrorshow scarier than anything in The Lord of the Rings. The film is extraordinary at seeing these places as its characters would; even the sweeping bird's-eye views seem like an expression of their fear."
Since it seems that not many people saw the film to review it, Newmarket probably won't feel the urge to bump the release date up a few weeks. Consider this film out of contention.

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