Movie Review: The Railway Man

The Railway Man movie review 2014

The Railway Man is based off the book of the same name, by Eric Lomax, the main character in this film. I didn't know that the movie was based on a true story until the end of the film, even though I believe it said it at the beginning of the movie, and it's an incredible story; it's hard to believe that it's actually true.

Eric (Colin Firth), a war veteran and train enthusiast, meets Patti (Nicole Kidman), aboard a train one day, and they hit it off; soon, they are married. What Patti doesn't know about Eric, however, is that he was a POW (Prisoner of War) at a Japanese labor camp during WWII, and he has a form of PTSD; flashbacks from that time period often haunt him, still. Eric's friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) sees a picture in a Japanese paper one day of the young man who was implicit in torturing Eric during the war, and he tells Eric about this; Eric knows he must go back and confront the man, in order to get over his past, or at least feel like revenge has been served.

This film was very hard to watch. There is some great acting by Firth and Kidman, but my kudos actually go to the younger version of Eric (Jeremy Irvine) and his army friends, as they are the ones who have the most gruesome and terrifying scenes; they're beat repeatedly by the enemy, Eric himself especially, who disappears for two weeks and then is delivered back to his friends half-dead. Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays the older version of Firth's Japanese captor, also does a fine job, as he recognizes the older version of Firth's character soon after re-meeting him.

Yes, see this movie. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a higher star rating is its pace; although the war flashbacks are intriguing, it mostly moves at a very slow pace. This is more of an indie movie, so you may have to search around a little to find a theater that is playing it near you - however, the performances and themes throughout the film make this movie an interesting one that is definitely worth seeing.

The Railway Man is in theaters today, April 25th, and is rated R with a runtime of 116 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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