The Railway Man is the screen adaptation of the bestselling autobiography of the same name written by Eric Lomax. As a British Army Officer during the surrender of Singapore. He along with hundreds of other soldiers became prisoners of war to the Japanese and sent to work on the Burma Railway, also known as the death railway. Suffering unbelievable levels of brutality and extreme torture from his captors.
Many years later, suffering horrific emotional trauma, Lomax set's out to confront the man who tortured him and haunts his soul. But what would you do if you met the man who has destroyed your life? Will it help Eric heal the emotional scars or will he take out vengeance. With the loving support of his wife Patti, Eric must find a way to confront his past and make the right choice that will resolve his past.
Now, it's fair to say that there are many films about World War II. However, very few have ever approached the subject of the following trauma suffered after. This is a difficult subject, but the screenwriters do a great job in presenting the story in a touching, factual, and affecting way. Although, The Railway Man can be a little confusing as it leaps back and forth in time. Pulling the story from a touching sentimental Romance to brutal realisms in the blink of an eye.
For me, this was the first film I had seen from the Australian Jonathan Teplitzky and was impressed with the subtle way that he delivers the script. Teplitzky creates a beautifully balanced film that tackles each emotional challenge with the sensitivity that it requires. Add to this a deeply haunting score and some spectacular cinematography and the result succeeds in awakening every sense.
A brief look at his previous work and it seems that Teplinsky is a deeply underrated Director. One thing that really stands out in particular with The Railway Man, is how well he works with the cast. Now, if you are a fan of Colin Firth you will not be disappointed. Cast as Eric Lomax, he gives a suitably complex and yet touching portrayal of the older man searching for a resolution to his crucifying past. However, Jeremy Irvine gives an equally impressive portrayal of the younger Eric. Nicole Kidman does very well with her limited role as Patti, Erics' love, Wife, and inspiration to stay alive.
It's fair to say that the rest of the cast is very limited as all of the focus is on Eric Lomax. But, Stellen Skarsgard gives a powerful display as Eric's closest frem and ex-prisoner Finlay. Another standout comes from Hiroyuki Sanada as the older version of the man that Eric must confront, Takashi Nagash. This is a role that needed to work well with Colin Firth's lead. And the two actors are amazing in the tense climactic moments of the film.
So, to conclude, The Railway Man is a fine piece of movie-making. A touching and emotionally involving tale which is all the more compelling because of the factual story. Although the subject matter is extremely painful, The Railway Man does succeed in expressing the power of Love and forgiveness in such a way that it will inspire all who watch it.