DVD Review – The Railway Man (2013)

Director Jonathan Teplitzky delivers a feature length film based on the autobiography of Eric Lomax. Who is Eric Lomax? He calls himself the Railway Man. Our story initially starts with Eric (Colin Firth) discovering his life partner, Patty (Nicole Kidman) on a train. Cut to the wedding day after their whirlwind romance we find out that Lomax suffers from a severe case of Post-traumatic stress syndrome triggered from his service during World War II.

Patty attempts to find out more about Eric’s troubled past, so she meets with his close friend and war buddy, Finlay (Stellan Skarsgård). Finlay reveals that he and Eric were technicians stationed in Malaysia when they were captured by Japanese forces and put into POW Camps. The Japanese forced them to build the Thai-Burma railway line north of the Peninsula of Malaysia.

Without going into too much detail, Finlay reveals to Patty that a key figure from Eric’s is past still alive and resides peacefully in Malaysia. Eric and Patty travel to Malaysia seeking closure from the horrific events, but Eric’s mind is set on vengeance.

This is a heavy film! Witnessing the tortured past of Eric Lomax, all I could think was that this actually happened! Hollywood heavyweights Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård and Hiroyuki Sanada all knock it out the park. I felt that they were the right team needed for this, it needed strong veteran actors to carry these performances. There would be no point attempting the same story with the likes of Pitt, Jolie, Cruise, Chan etc. Sure, it would probably make $100 million, but instead they brought us actors that had some miles on their clock, actors able of giving credible performances. The performances from the “cast in the past”, Jeremy Irvine and Sam Reid – playing the young adult versions of Eric and Finlay – also manage quite well. That said, some of the young officers do ham it up with some very, very British accents that just seem overly forced!

I almost can’t say anything bad about this movie, it’s a truly remarkable story. But the film itself does seem to run a little long, Teplitzky could just be letting the story simmer, with all of us knowing what the pay off will be, we know what was going to happen, but they needed to make us wait.

Special Features don’t go much further than a handful of interviews with the cast and crew. They question Firth’s thought process, on how he met the real Eric Lomax etc. Nicole Kidman receives a similar set of questioning, meeting the real Patty, listening to her telling of the tale and how she made sure to bring these small emotional cues and implement them into her character for key scenes of the film.

Overall a wonderful story and a basic DVD. But, it’s all about the movie for me.