The Way Back ★★

A cliché-ridden, incredibly manipulative, overly mawkish, Hollywoodized melodrama that hardly touches upon the surface of addiction and mental health, almost as if The Way Back were explicitly designed to be a vehicle for Ben Affleck’s return to the screen from personal recovery while also being something easily digestible for mainstream audiences, who will use words like “raw” and “realistic” to describe it because they probably haven’t seen many films (especially indies) that have done this type of thing far better. Despite Affleck’s efforts, he can’t make Jack a compelling character because the writing is so damn superficial. I won’t deny that Gavin O’Connor is a competent director, but this is entirely lacking in inspiration.

Just watch HALF NELSON instead.

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