Movie Review: “The Railway Man”

Movies released in late spring are generally aimed at the youth audience, with action heroes, inane comedy, cartoons and horror dominating the marquis. But once in a while, a truly good motion picture drama will emerge from the pack. The Railway Man, released in April, is one of those deep and riveting motion pictures. It’s a “don’t miss” for people who appreciate great acting, superb directing and an engrossing drama based on a true story.



In a nutshell, Colin Firth plays the role of a former British soldier who had been captured and tortured by the Japanese during WW II. Twenty years after the war, he meets a fresh spirit in the persona of Nicole Kidman and with whom he falls in love. But the daunting nightmares from those horror days in the internment camp not only continue to terrify as he relives the moments over and over, they eat at his new and loving wife.

At center of those nightmares is the Japanese officer who conducted most of the torture. Viewers are also brought into the real moments of war and hate and family trauma, which this film skillfully depicts. The movie starts slowly, but stick around. The intensity heightens as it plods along, while the audience anticipates the next scene, and the next. Final scenes are very emotional.

It’s too early in the year to start talking about Oscar-worthy performances, but there are four actors in this movie who would deserve nominations, Firth, Kidman, Tanroh Ishida and Hiroyuki Sanaka. Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky.

It will probably bomb at the box office. That’s only because the movie-going audiences of modern times stick to genres that appeal to the very young.

I give it 8 ½ out of ten.