There's much to admire in "The Railway Man". The complex story is just the beginning.
One of the more prominent films screened at TIFF this weekend turned out to be The Railway Man, a true-to-life drama, which fits neatly within the festival’s noticeable motif of torture, depicted in various ways in many movies on the roster. Colin Firth stars in this Jonathan Teplitzky film as a World War II veteran, who has been so shaken by the experience of being a war prisoner and forced to work on the Thailand-Burma railway that he can’t rid himself of the memories for long after the war.
Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman both deliver excellent performances in this WWII drama.
When Eric (Firth) finds out that the man who tortured him after his capture – an interpreter by the name of Takashi Nagase – is still alive, the demons, which still haunt him, surface once again. His wife Patti (Nicole Kidman), having found out the reason behind her husband’s trauma, encourages him to return to Japan, find Nagase and get some closure from his horrific experiences. But as it turns out, closure isn’t an easy thing to come by and Eric is forced to choose between revenge or acceptance.
According to early reviews, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgård all have plenty of room to show off their acting talents in this true-to-life story, based on the eponymous autobiography by Eric Lomax, recounting his time working on the “Death Railway” and his struggle to overcome the experience. Jeremy Irvine, who plays young Eric and Hiroyuki Sanada in the role of Nagase have also impressed reviewers. The book was adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce (24 Hour Party People, Butterfly Kiss) and Andy Paterson, into an “extremely affecting and accomplished drama,” according to The Guardian’s Catherine Shoard. The Railway Man will premiere in UK theatres on January 3 next year.
Like other TIFF offerings this year, the film deals with difficult topics like torture and revenge.