CLICK HERE to see the trailer.
Now showing in Hampton Roads at The NARO Theater in Norfolk.
The Railway Man stars Colin Firth as Eric Lomax — the older one in 1980 — and Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as the younger — a former World War II POW in a Japanese Labor Camp working construction of the Burma Railway.
The older Lomax is tormented with what we now know is PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He relives the torure and brutality on a regular basis. Images of his torturer appear and disappear in the everyday landscape.
Practically useless to anyone not riding a train, the self-described ‘railway enthusiast’ Lomax spends his time riding the rails in England. That’s where he meets Patti (Nicole Kidman). Soon love is in bloom and before you know it, they are wed, and she discovers his torment and seeks the help of an old friend, and fellow POW Finlay (played by Stellan Skarsgard).
When Lomax learns from Finlay that the interpreter Nagase (Hiroyuki Sanada, older/Tanroh Ishida, younger) who took part in his many torture sessions was not only still alive, but giving tours of the same POW camp, he knows what he has to do to survive. Confrontation is a must and he travels to Thailand to finish what was started so many years before.
The Railway Man is based on the real Lomax’s autobiography of the same name, and there are two stories playing at the same time: the modern day romance/grappling with the past, and also the past, shown in great detail through flashbacks.
Both Firth and Kidman have their usual amazing and understated acting touches with the characters of Eric and Patti. Firth continues to stand as one of the best actors we have. Director Jonathan Teplitzky uses most of the film to build us to the moment of revenge, forcing us to question ourselves as we watch… What would you do in Lomax’s situation? Staring into the eyes of this person responsible for so much of your pain? Could you cause pain to him? Could you be brave enough to end your own? And how?
Despite the build, for me the ending was quite predictable and something felt not quite right in terms of story… I felt like I wanted it to go off the rails, to surprise me. But instead, it stayed the course and finished at the station.
SIDENOTE: So much of the cinematography is stunning!
FOUR OUT OF FIVE COOKIES
Rated R for disturbing prisoner of war violence.