This film was released 27th December 2010, and is no longer screening.
With a track record including Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli and The Truman Show, any new film from director Peter Weir is an event. His mature, exacting artistry may be aeons away from Hollywood formula (perhaps explaining the hiatus since 2003’s Master and Commander), but brings characteristic probing intelligence to this epic true-life saga. Inspired by the accounts of escapees from the Siberian gulags in the 1940s, whose trek towards freedom redefined the limits of endurance, the story finds physical vulnerability caught in the grip between steely moral conviction and the merciless implacability of mother nature. Weir’s often daringly elliptical storytelling brilliantly depicts the myriad challenges of the fugitives’ journey, but plays widescreen vistas against the minutiae of comradeship and compassion, in the process showcasing wonderful performances from Jim Sturgess (idealistic Polish leader), Colin Farrell (shifty Russian thug), Ed Harris (world-weary expatriate American) and Saoirse Ronan (affecting waif-like straggler). This is an astringent but often stirring vision of human indomitability. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).