The human spirit forces itself on so many movies you have to wonder if that's the whole reason we make the damn things. Gruff, no nonsense men learning lessons about being brothers while overcoming uncertain odds. That's pretty much the whole story here.
Our story starts in Siberia where men are kept like cattle by communist Russian forces. This prison camp holds any and all enemies of the state, from the idealistic and funny to the gruff and mean. Political and violent alike. Then a bunch of them escape and its those assholes we follow.
The true star of this film is the direction and cinematography. There's some good acting, to be sure, but views of snowy forests, mountain lakes, vast empty deserts, and peaks of Eastern Asia fill the screen and demand to be seen. As the men walk to each new climate, you have to wonder how this new and beautiful piece of the world is going to kill another man.
Make no mistake, this film is brutal as it is beautiful. When the prison camp is the most hospitable place in the story, be sure challenges continue to mount. No one gets off this planet alive, but it's amazing when there's good views.