* * * * *
will move you to tears)
There are few movies that can move you to tears while at the same time challenge your heart and mind. “The Railway Man” is one of them.
Based on a true story, “The Railway Man” is about a World War II British soldier who is tortured in a Japanese POW camp, sees many of his comrades brutally killed and returns home with what is today called post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Jeremy Irvine plays the young soldier, while Collin Firth plays him in his older years. Both are terrific.
The movie is based on Eric Lomax’s autobiography and recalls the sadistic, brutal treatment of the captive British soldiers who were physically and mentally tortured as the Japanese used them to build a railroad from Bangkok to Rangoon. Some of the scenes are difficult to watch, so be warned. Other scenes are so emotional, running from pathos to joy and requiring at least one handkerchief.
We first meet the aging Lomax, a man obsessed with trains for both good and bad reasons, on a train where he meets his future wife (Nicole Kidman). Lomax has nightmares, waking his wife and showing all the signs of the trauma that the war has brought on. She patiently seeks to understand him and help him.
Through a series of flashbacks, we learn what brought him to his present condition. An incident with one of his war buddies brings his situation to a peak and he returns to confront his torturer, a Japanese interpreter who is now working as a tour guide at the former prison camp. The scenes between the two are tense and poignant, as both men try to come to grips with a war that had a major effect on the rest of their lives. Both men live with guilt; both are broken and trying to heal and make amends. Both seek some sort of peace in their lives.
We’ve seen many anti-war movies, but none that does such an effective job on making you feel the pain and the futility.
The closing scenes are so emotional and real that the audience sits there long after the credits are rolling, taking it all in. This is acting, writing and directing at its best.
Rated R because of the brutality of war.