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

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.