Trailer: The Railway Man
Based on Eric Lomax's best-selling memoir, The Railway Man is an extraordinary and inspiring true story of heroism, humanity and the redeeming power of love.PT2M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2unz7 620 349 September 30, 2013
- Drama, Biopic
- Running time
- 116 min
- Jonathan Taplitzky
- Screen writer
- Frank Cottrell Boyce, Eric Lomax, Andy Paterson
- Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Irvine, Hiroyuki Sanada
- OFLC rating
The Railway Man – based on a true story, a memoir written by its central figure – is about the pressure of the past, the pain of remembering, and the necessity of forgiveness.
It begins in 1980, with a chance meeting between Patti (Nicole Kidman) and Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) during a railway journey. Their courtship is evoked with a kind of old-fashioned cinematic quality – Brief Encounter is a reference point, and Lomax's obsessive grasp of railway timetables enables him to engineer a second meeting. As Lomax, Firth combines eccentricity, decency and vulnerability, and Kidman brings grace to a character who is a key to the narrative, yet remains a little undeveloped overall.
Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a POW forced to work on the Burma Railway in WW2, sets out to find those responsible for his torture, in Jonathan Teplitzky's The Railway Man.
Patti doesn't realise, until after they are married, how damaged Eric is from his wartime experiences as a POW on the Thai-Burma Railway, when he was brutalised and tortured. His memories intrude into the fabric of his daily life at times, yet he represses them, unwilling to talk about them, or share his fears or experiences.
She gets some clues from Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard), a fellow POW. As she learns more about the suffering Lomax cannot speak of, we are given flashbacks to his wartime past (with Eric played by Jeremy Irvine). These scenes are strong and painful to watch, and they have considerable impact.
Australian director Jonathan Teplitzky (from a screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson) tells a story of hard-won redemption, in which Eric, with Patti's encouragement, returns to the place of his torment to face not only his memories but also one of the people at whose hands he suffered: Nagase (played as an older man by Hiroyuki Sanada, in flashbacks by Tanroh Ishida), an officer and military interpreter.
Teplitzky seems unsure of how to handle these final scenes; they should be the dramatic climax of the film, the point to which all its energies have been building, yet they lack definition or clarity, and fall short of what has gone before.