The true story of Eric Lomax, a World War II veteran who found and confronted the Japanese soldier who tortured him in a P.O.W. camp.
The Railway Man (2013)
Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky
Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson
Starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine,
Stellan Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tanroh Ishida
Based on the book by Eric Lomax
The story of Eric Lomax is quite inspiring. He was a World War II veteran who served time in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. In that time, he was repeatedly tortured for information. When the war ended, and he was sent home, Lomax suffered for years. Then, one day, he discovered the man who tortured him was still alive. For the sake of his sanity, Lomax went and confronted him, and the result was a lifelong friendship between two men who were haunted by a war that was out of their control. It should make for a great film, but this thing is a dull, uneven affair that does not do justice to its incredible, human story.
Colin Firth does a great job as Lomax, but Nicole Kidman is criminally underutilized as his wife Patti. Their chance encounter on a train that leads to their marriage is done well, but then we're immediately sent back in time to Lomax's time in the war, which goes on for way too long and doesn't provide us with much story. The heart of the film is its ending, where Lomax confronts Nagase (Sanada, who steals the show) and forgives him. I wanted way more of that, but regrettably that was not the case.
The Railway Man needed a refocus on the most significant parts of the story. It's a shame because the story really is amazing. Two men on opposite sides of the war, who never moved on because of their own demons, found each other and forgave one another. That should've been the whole damn movie, not just the ending. Maybe the book is better.