Film Review – The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man - post

Title: The Railway Man (2013)

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky (Gettin Square)

Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard, Hiroyuki Sanada

Plot: Based on a true story, Patricia (Kidman) is freshly married to Eric Lomax (Firth) a man haunted by his time working on the Thai/Burma railway during World War 2.  Patricia looks to get to the bottom of Eric’s deep seeded trauma whilst Eric himself has a chance to get revenge on the he man that caused him so much pain in the form of ex-soldier Nagase (Sanada).

“Sometimes the hating has to stop”

Film review by Eddie on 27/01/2014

Undoubtabtly an amazing true story and one that carries much weight and power The Railway Man is a sadly subdued and lacking film adaptation by one of Australia’s most talented and unique filmmakers.

Jonathan Teplitzky has showed much skill behind the camera with his comedy Gettin Square and drama Burning Man so it was with justification that hype was high when it was announced he would tackle Eric Lomax ‘s memoir. Hype was extenuated when reliable actors Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman respectively jumped on board in the lead roles so it’s quite disappointing that the melding of director and actors feels so muted.

The downfall of the film is really centred around the lacking central romance and also the telling of Eric’s time in captivity as played by War Horse actor Jeremy Irvine. Eric’s and Patricia’s relationship in the film never feels wholly real and one feels that deep down the film would of benefited from a more touching portrayl of there love. Eric’s traumatic flashbacks to feel as though they are barely scratching the surface in regards to emotional poignancy whilst Eric’s trip back to the place of his ordeal never gives off a payoff we are waiting for despite fine work from the ever reliable Sanada as ex-solder turned tour guide Nagase. It’s almost as if the film is building to an emotional crescendo that sadly never hits the lofty notes it set out to.

The Railway Man is a safe and assured film that never gets out of first gear from first frame to last playing out as a by the numbers war tale that could of been a new entry into the classic war films. For a certain audience however and for those that have history with the building of the rail line the movie will be a much more poignant tale than for those uninitiated, one just wishes that Teplitzky added his unique style to a unique tale.

3 trains out of 5

10 responses to “Film Review – The Railway Man (2013)

  1. Looks like an interesting film, but to be honest (no disrespect to their talents) I can’t imagine anything with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman ever getting too exciting.

    • I really like Colin Firth with And When Did You Last See Your Father and A Single Man particular highlights of his career but I must say Miss Kidman does seem a little dour. Both talented in their own rights however.

  2. Yes – I agree with your comments. Teplitsky’s film The Burning Man, was based on his own experience, so that gave it great power. From attending a small press conference with him, the Producer and the real-life Patti Lomax, I can confirm that everyone’s heart was profoundly “in it” when they made this film. So it’s strange that it seems to lack power and passion. Later, I talked with Patti Lomax, about “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”, which also tackled the subject of prisoners suffering under the Japanese in WW2 in SE Asia, and was far more powerful. Nagisa Oshima is tough competition.

  3. Pingback: Classic Review – Gettin’ Square (2003) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  4. Pingback: 10 Must-See Comedies: Eddie’s Take | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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