Based on the true story of former World War Two prisoner of war Eric Lomax, The Railway Man is an extraordinarily moving tale of suffering and survival, reconciliation and redemption.
In the title role, Colin Firth delivers another of his masterly portrayals of stiff-upper-lipped emotional reserve, but his character’s stuffy reticence means that it is all the more powerful when he eventually reveals the depths of hurt left by his harrowing experiences as a young British army officer forced by the Japanese to work on the notorious Death Railway in Thailand.
Playing the young Lomax in flashbacks depicting his wartime ordeal, Jeremy Irvine matches Firth superbly, while Nicole Kidman brings warmth and tenderness to the role of Lomax’s second wife, Patti. The scene of the couple’s initial meeting on a train briefly – and highly enjoyably – takes the film into romantic comedy territory: only later do we realise that he uses dry wit as a way of masking feeling.
For the most part, though, The Railway Man is as traditional and old-fashioned as its protagonist, but the filmmaking restraint only makes the story’s final stages more compelling, as Lomax finally seeks to confront his past.
Certificate 15. Runtime 116 mins. Director Jonathan Teplitzky.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 5th May by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
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