Belfast Telegraph

Row erupts over gulag film claims

Mystery surrounds an Oscar-tipped epic about a group of prisoners who escape a Soviet gulag and trek 4,500 miles to freedom.

Some feel The Way Back, starring Irish actors Colin Farrell and 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan, can't possibly be true, others are convinced it took place.

“Controversy does surround the question of whether the man who wrote the book was on the whole walk,” says film director Peter Weir, the man behind Master And Commander, Witness and Gallipoli.

“He was certainly a prisoner, so I decided to fictionalise it, change the title, re-name the characters and then draw on the experiences of others who'd been in the gulags.”

The film, which highlights Stalin's brutal prison regime, follows the escapees across some of the world's most inhospitable terrain.

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