April 20, 2014

The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man (2013)
Directed by: Jonathan Teplitzky
Country: Australia / UK

Movie Review: Australian film director, Jonathan Teplitzky, drastically changes tones with “The Railway Man”, his new drama based on the real experiences of British soldier Eric Lomax during the WWII, comparatively with his abuzz work dated from 2011, “The Burning Man”. The film stars Colin Firth as Lomax, a traumatized and railway enthusiast British soldier who was made prisoner in 1942 by the Japanese forces in command, having been heavily tortured and accused of conspiracy with the Chinese. Deeply affected, Lomax counts with the help of his understanding and patient wife, Patti (Nicole Kidman), and his best friend, Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard). After years of suffering, he decides to meet Nagase (Hiroyuki Sanada), a former Japanese translator who was responsible for many of the inflicted tortures. Making him prisoner, Lomax will teach him a late yet valuable life lesson that will ease their tortured souls . Despite the challenging score, the film was never unsettling and couldn’t totally escape to sentimentality. Moreover, the uneven pace makes the film drag in several occasions, giving the sensation of being much longer, while the performances, especially those by the young Japanese soldiers, didn’t seem so authentic as expected. Humanity and forgiveness are always to praise, but I felt that the unstimulating “The Railway Man” needed so much more to triumph as a drama, and thereby follow the success of Lomax’s bestselling autobiography of the same name. Garry Phillips’ cinematography deserves to be mentioned but my final verdict is: skippable.

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