A former British Army officer, who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.
Eric Lomax was one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. His experiences, after the secret radio he built to bring news and hope to his colleagues was discovered, left him traumatised and shut off from the world. Years later, he met Patti, a beautiful woman, on a train and fell in love. Patti was determined to rid Eric of his demons. Discovering that the young Japanese officer who haunted her husband was still alive, she faced a terrible decision. Should Eric be given a chance to confront his tormentor? Would she stand by him, whatever he did? Written by
The film uses compressed time to speed up the story. Eric Lomax and Patti Wallace did meet in 1980, but in reality they didn't marry until 1983. Eric didn't learn that Takashi Nagase was still alive until 1993, and they finally met in 1995. See more »
The Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed is shown with overhead wires, which were not built until 1989. See more »
Performed by Sean Timms featuring Janine Baigent and Daniel Burgess
Composed by Farian/Jay/Reyam
Published by Sony ATV Music Publishing
Licensed by Perfect Pitch Publishing on behalf of Timms Tunes See more »
Last week I saw American HUSTLE and couldn't understand why the critics have so raved about it. Yesterday I saw THE RAILWAY MAN and can't understand why the critics have been so dismissive. It's a tense story about one of the great horrors of World War Two. Based on a true story, it's also a tale of love and redemption, two of the cinema's (and literature's) greatest themes. And it serves up a vivid reminder that the Japanese of the 1940s were, like the Nazis, from a different generation, almost from a different race.
David Lean's BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI casts a huge shadow over this movie. THE RAILWAY MAN lacks the "majesty" of Lean's famous epic, but I suspect that Alex Guinness's performance would seem very theatrical by the standards of screen acting today. If anything, Colin Firth gives a slightly under-powered performance (and Nicole Kidman's part gives her too little to work with), but Jeremy Irvine is intensely believable as the wartime Lomax, geeky and quietly heroic. The horrors of the forced labour that built the railway and the relentless brutality of the Japanese soldiers are both vividly conveyed, and the ending manages to be poignant without trespassing into mawkishness.
This is a strange movie, grim but highly watchable. Arguably, it could have been tougher, more savage, but then it might be harder to sit through.
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