The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

movie review-The Railway Man reveals redeeming power of love

By Erin Ratigan/tr news editor

Photo courtesy The Weinstein Company   The Railway Man features Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), who struggles with the trauma of having undergone brutal torture at the hands of the Japanese during World War II.
Photo courtesy The Weinstein Company The Railway Man features Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), who struggles with the trauma of having undergone brutal torture at the hands of the Japanese during World War II.

After his success in The King’s Speech and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Colin Firth has proved himself capable of handling serious dramatic roles.

While some viewers might be incapable of seeing him as anything other than Mr. Darcy from the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, his performance in The Railway Man is testament to his versatility and talent.

The film follows the life of Eric Lomax, a recently married former British Army officer trapped in his memories of torture and wartime tragedy.

After meeting Patricia Wallack (Nicole Kidman) on a train, Eric and Patricia marry, but Patricia quickly learns something is wrong.

To learn about Eric’s harrowing past, Patricia seeks the help of Finlay (Stellan Skarsgaard), one of Eric’s fellow soldiers also battling post-traumatic stress disorder.

During the war, Finlay and Eric were among a troupe of army personnel detained by Japanese soldiers to do construction on a railway line between Thailand and India. Out of desperation, Eric steals electrical equipment and builds a radio to receive news from home. He also draws a map of the region as he has a fondness for trains.

However, the makeshift radio is soon discovered by their captors. From then on, Eric is subjected to brutal treatment including beatings and water torture.

When Eric finally meets Nagase, one of his former captors, for the first time since the war, he is determined to have revenge. Here, the film changes from one of revenge to one of redemption as Eric realizes how much Patricia’s love has changed him. Despite the darkness in the beginning, the film’s ending is surprisingly hopeful and leaves viewers satisfied.

It is hard to believe anyone could survive the brutality Lomax experienced. And after seeing Lomax tortured for roughly 20 minutes, it is a relief to go back to one’s own insignificant problems.

Hiroyuki Sanada’s performance as Nagase is powerful, and his scenes opposite Firth are dynamic and brilliant. He deserves at least a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the next Academy Awards.

The Railway Man is hard to watch at times but conveys an important message: War leaves scars only the deepest love can mend.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian