This remake is much darker than the original version. I’ve heard it’s truer to the book, but I haven’t read the book. Perhaps I will. The acting in this version is superb on the part of all the actors and the cinematography is great. Editing could have been a little tighter – there were a few places where the pace was too slow. And I thought the dialogue was a bit stilted. Yes, I’ll buy that people spoke more formally in those days, but that much more? It’s not really a holiday movie; no happy ending to feel good about. It’s more a cautionary tale about the perils of making vengeance the only purpose of your existence.
I saw The Way Back a couple of nights ago. It currently is in limited release for Academy consideration and will go into wide release on January 21. The acting and cinematography are as good as True Grit (Peter Weir is the director) and the story (based on a book which may or may not have been true) is a lot more uplifting. It’s about how a small group of men escape from one of Stalin’s concentration camps in Siberia and cross 4000 miles of hostile Asiatic terrain until a few of them make it to eventual freedom when they reach India. Along the way they are joined by a young woman (played by 16 year-old Soairse Ronan) who has escaped from a Communist collective farm. Well worth seeing as a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit (even in those who die along the way) over a brutal totalitarianism.