Critically acclaimed filmmaker Peter Weir has a potential Oscar winner on his hands with The Way Back – at least that’s what early reviews are saying. The film features Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan and Mark Strong in an adaptation of Slawomir Rawicz’s memoirs, among other sources.

The buzz from recent film festivals is great, but now there is a trailer to see for yourself.

The Way Back follows a group of soldiers who escape from a Siberian gulag in the early 1940s. The group travels through the Gobi desert, Tibet and the Himalayas before settling in British India in 1942. According to industry buzz, The Way Back will have no trouble wowing its audience – and the trailer suggests the same sentiment.

Watch the trailer for The Way Back below:

It is tough to compare the film to anything else because the story is so unique, but the trailer does bring a number of films to mind.

The sprawling journey is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, while the wintry survival story featured at the heart of The Way Back has the same feel as Alive. The grittiness of the 1940s also shines in the trailer, drawing thoughts of Defiance – though that took place in 1939.

It’s hard not to fall in love with The Way Back – considering all of the details. The people involved are all tremendously talented and the topic is an inspiring tale of the triumph of willpower – not to be confused with Triumph of the Will.

Director Peter Weir

Weir has worked with Ed Harris before on the fantastic social drama The Truman Show and explored the traveling story with Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. On paper, the film has plenty to get excited about, but the trailer just adds to that anticipation with its enormous scale and engaging music.

The camaraderie of the escapees will likely be pushed to the limits as they fight for their lives in the harsh wilderness over a 4,000 mile journey. The trailer has a nice mix of humor and danger to suggest a well-balanced story. But it still looks like a mostly dramatic film that will test the actors both physically and emotionally.

What did you think of the trailer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Way Back opens in limited theaters on December 29th, expanding to wide release on January 21st, 2011.

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