Plot Summary: Siberian-gulag escapees walk 4000 miles overland to freedom in India.
Director: Peter Weir
Writers: Keith R. Clarke (screenplay), Slavomir Rawicz (novel), Peter Weir (screenplay)
Stars: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell
Serious Jest: (Must See) Throughout my life, I have constantly tested myself: martial arts; street fights; pledging Kappa Alpha Psi; earning my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor in the Marines; deploying to Iraq; Crossfit; Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, GoRuck Challenge…the list goes on and on…yet any time I even start thinking that I’m slightly a bad-ass, I am quickly humbled by something amazing that another human being has accomplished through sheer determination. This film’s Plot Summary says it all.
Whenever any life event gets so tough that I want to quit, I tell myself to just take one more step…you can always take one more step…no one and nothing can make you quit but yourself. I’d like to think that I could survive what the subjects of this film did, but I’m not 100% sure. I’d fight to the last breath, but sometimes it’s the right combination of attributes, skills, and luck that allow you to survive something like this. I am truly in awe of what those people survived.
Hopefully, this film will inspire you, too. Hopefully, it will shame you out of using the words “I can’t” when you’re really saying “I’m quitting because this is too uncomfortable.” Hopefully, you will convince at least one friend to watch this movie, so that he or she can be inspired, too.
This film also illustrates the power of community. All of your differences seem less important when you’re put through the fire. You may still irritate each other and fight, but some of the strongest bonds are formed through the endurance of overwhelmingly-difficult situations together.
This movie should also raise your appreciation for the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States. It highlights the extent of the damage that the Axis did to so many people during World War II.
Finally, a bit about leadership: it is an inexact science, for which experience is invaluable. If you are an inexperienced leader, the best thing you can do to limit the mistakes that you will inevitably make is to learn from the mistakes of others. Read books by leaders you admire. There are some very important takeaways about leadership in this film. One of them is that sometimes you can be wrong, and your group may overrule you, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t trust you. Too often, leaders become too concerned with defending their decisions, rather than recognizing when they were wrong and learning from their own mistakes.