Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan get it on the chin from critics for their performances in 'The Way Back', the new drama out this weekend which has high hopes for Oscar nominations.

'The Way Back' is the story of prisoners escaping from a Soviet era gulag and walking to freedom.

Farrell is one of the escapees while Ronan is the peasant girl they meet along the way.

'The New York Times' is not taken by Farrell's performance calling his casting " A crudely obvious commercial" decision.

Critic Manohla Dargis says the death camp scenes "come alive" until Farrell's character is introduced.

Colin Farrell starts" throwing gangster attitudes" says Dargis which "only add to the distraction."

"It takes time before you can simultaneously see Mr.Farrell and believe in his character."

Dargis says the fault was not Farrell's but the movie makers.

"Who decided to cast a well-known Irish actor as a Russian gangster in an ostensibly true saga?" She asks.

Meanwhile Saoirse Roanan does not escape critical attention either. The New York Post columnist Kyle Smith says Saoirse's "ironclad self assurance is getting tedious."