The Way Back

Peter Weir’s The Way Back is good movie to have handy for Christmas. It’s a tough and long adventure movie about fugitives escaping from the evil Siberian gulags. They take a long 4,000 mile walk to freedom and struggle for food, water and with illness. It’s said to be based on a true story although many doubt the facts.

Weir has always been an interesting director, with a good feel for the outdoors he also uses atmospheric photography and music well. As a script writer for hire it interest me that apart from the walk itself, not much happens in the second half of the film – but the characters grow and relationships develop slowly and effectively.

Budding script writers should take note; good characters often don’t need massive drama or huge arcs to develop. The long slow walk acts as an excuse to very slowly reveal what these characters are really like.

Special mention should go to Jim Sturgess, the only really developed character at the start of the film and the actor who holds the film together despite great turns from Ed Harris and Colin Farrell.

I like an adventure film at this time of the year, for the most part the weather conditions in the film are cold and snowy. Ideal for a Christmas afternoon and getting cosy by the fire…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on