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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.