Movie Review – The Railway Man (2013)

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

Stars: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Irvine, Tanroh Ishida, Sam Reid, Hiroyuki Sanada

Eric Lomax (Firth, Irvine) was a prisoner of war in Japan and was made to build a railroad. He was also tortured, and this left him with emotional trauma that he’s yet to come to terms with. On a random encounter he meets Patti (Kidman), and they marry, but his inability to talk about what happened drives a wedge between them, and it only gets more grim when Eric finds out that an interpreter present at his trial is still alive.

The romance is incredibly quick and feels truncated. The flashbacks are good and Irvine does a great job at playing a younger version of Colin Firth. The torture scenes are uncomfortable to watch, and the resolution of the film is rather touching, so it has the ingredients to be a decent film but it falls flat for me. I felt that the pace was too slow and it didn’t have the simmering tension that made it captivating. I feel like there could have been more scenes set in the present to show the effect Eric’s trauma was having on his relationship with Patti, because it didn’t seem that Kidman had much to do (the other film released starring her and Colin Firth, Before I Go to Sleep, is MUCH better).

I found that I couldn’t immerse myself in the film and it didn’t engage me. It’s definitely less than the sum of its parts, and it simply didn’t work for me.

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