The Railway Man

"Very Good"

The Railway Man Review


A terrific true story is oddly underplayed in this sober, sedate drama about reconciliation and making peace with the past. Strikingly complex performances from Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman help give the film some deeper resonance, even if even it all seems rather under-powered. But the force of emotion in the events makes the film worth a look.

In 1980 Scotland, railway expert Eric (Firth) has defined his entire life by trains. During the Second World War, he was captured by the Japanese and put into forced-labour to build a railway in Thailand. And more recently he met his wife Patti (Kidman) on a train journey. But their marriage starts to collapse when Eric refuses to face up to his torture at the hands of his wartime captors all those years ago, so Patti turns to his war-veteran pal Finlay (Skarsgard) for help. Eventually, Eric makes the difficult decision to return to Thailand and confront his tormenter Nagase (Sanada).

A more Hollywood-style film would play out as a build-up to roaring vengeance, but director Teplitzky internalises the tone, showing us past events in extensive flashbacks as the young Eric and Finlay (Irvine and Reid) try to subvert the young Nagase (Ishida) at every turn. These scenes are eerily tame as well, and only reveal the true horror of Eric's experience when he finally faces up to it himself. Instead, the focus is on his struggle to forgive Nagase, and this gives the film a strongly moving punch.

Firth and Irvine are terrific as Eric, cleverly matching their performances to let us see under the character's skin. Kidman is somewhat underused, but also lends weight to her scenes. And while the script's complexity may undermine the film's entertainment value, it's also what makes it important. This is a story about seeking a positive path, much as Mandela did in South Africa. The rest of the world seeks retribution and violence, but the only way forward is reconciliation.

Watch 'The Railway Man' Trailer



The Railway Man

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd May 2014

Box Office USA: $4.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $22.3M

Budget: $26M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: Archer Street Productions, Lionsgate, Pictures in Paradise, Latitude Media, Thai Occidental Productions, Silver Reel

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 37

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

Producer: , Bill Curbishley

Starring: as Patricia Wallace, as Finlay, as Eric Lomax, as Young Eric Lomax, as Nagase, as Young Finlay, as Memsahib, Tom Hobbs as Thorlby, Masa Yamaguchi as Kempai Officer, Byron J. Brochmann as British Trooper POW, Shinji Ikefuji as Thug Sergeant, as Japanese Guard, Akos Armont as Jackson, Michael MacKenzie as Sutton, Jeffrey Daunton as Burton, Tanroh Ishida as Young Takeshi Nagase, Tom Stokes as Withins, Bryan Probets as Major York, Kitamoto Takato as Japanese Officer, Keith Fleming as Removal Man, Ben Aldridge as Baliff, as Japanese NCO, Louis Toshio Okada as Hank the Yank, Micheal Doonan as Doctor Rogers, Shoota Tanahshi as Japanese Mechanic, Peter Tuinstra as Pump Operator, Shogo Tanikawa as Japanese Engineer, Ben Warren as Cook, Yasuhiko Miyauchi as Japanese Sergeant, Keiichi Enomoto as Sakamoto, as Captain Thompson, Jack McTaggart as Australian Soldier, Sarah McVicar as Nurse, as Mother

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.