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The Railway Man

Aug 2014

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Colin Firth plays tormented war hero Eric Lomax

Tortured soulThe Railway Man shows us the journey of a World War II veteran as he confronts the demo...ns of his past, writes James MarshAmeasured yet powerful drama, The Railway Man tells a remarkable story of persecution, revenge and forgiveness. The film is inspired by the autobiography of Eric Lomax, a World War II veteran haunted by his wartime experiences.As a young British officer, Lomax (portrayed in flashback by War Horse star Jeremy Irvine) is captured by the Japanese army and incarcerated in a labour camp in Thailand. There, he and other POWs endure horrific conditions while being forced to work on the notorious Thailand-Burma Railway.Years later, while harbouring unresolved feelings of fear and vengeance, an older Lomax (Colin Firth) has ironically maintained an obsessive fascination with locomotives and Britain’s railway network. On one train journey, he meets and falls in love with Patti (Nicole Kidman), whom he later marries. But even her emotional support can only go so far in helping Lomax. Eventually, he resolves to track down one of his most vicious tormentors and in doing so sets himself up for an ultimately violent catharsis.The Railway Man brilliantly portrays one man’s ordeal with post-traumatic stress at a time before such a condition was consciously diagnosed. Firth is as reliably excellent as ever, bringing an understated anguish to the role of Lomax that only accentuates his inner turmoil. There is fine support all round, but the real star is the story itself and its slow build to a heartbreaking climax that reveals selfless humanity.

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