The Way Back

 The film begins with Janusz (Jim Sturgess), a Polish POW, being interrogated by a Soviet officer. Janusz refuses to admit his guilt. His wife is brought in to the room and forced to make a statement condemning Janusz. Janusz is sentenced to 20 years in the gulag.

At the camp in Siberia, Janusz meets Mr. Smith (Ed Harris), an American Metro engineer; an actor named Khabarov; Valka (Colin Farrell), a hardened Russian criminal; Tomasz, an artist and the group's cook; Kazik, a Pole who suffers from night blindness; Voss, a Latvian priest; and Zoran, a Yugoslav accountant. Khabarov confides to Janusz that he has a plan for escaping. Khabarov's proposed route is south to Mongolia, passing Lake Baikal. Mr. Smith tells Janusz that Khabarov is fantasizing about his desire to escape in order to improve his own morale, and that, in his opinion, escape is impossible. Janusz maintains his resolve.

During a severe snowstorm, Janusz decides to implement the escape plan. Mr. Smith, Valka, Zoran, Voss, Tomasz, and Kazik escape with him. On the first night while looking for firewood, Kazik becomes lost due to his night blindness and eventually freezes to death. He is found by the group next morning and buried but the group celebrates the fact that he died a free man.

 

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