The Railway Man

Sometimes it's good to go off the rails.
Will he go off the rails?

We meet Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) in the 1980s, when he’s travelling around Britain more or less for the sake of it. In his bad moustache and ugly glasses (last seen on Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor, I think) he looks every inch the trainspotter. But his nights are spent reliving the horrors of being a POW on the WWII ‘Death Railway’ in Burma. Through flashbacks, we see the younger Eric get singled out for brutal interrogation sessions by his Japanese captors.

Forty years on, Eric hears that his main persecutor is alive and working as a tour guide. At last, he sees an opportunity for revenge…

The Burma Railway cost 100,000 men their lives, but its portrayal here seems if anything less horrific that it actually was. The script could also have better revealed the characters’ motivations while at the same time staying closer to historical fact – because this is based on a remarkable true tale of courage that’s well worth the telling. 7/10

Released December 26, 2013.

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