Based on a true story of a victim from World War II’s “Death Railway” Eric Lomax becomes more struggled by the memories of what happened to him as the years go by, what will he do when he finds out the man who haunts his memories is still alive?
The film opens with Eric explaining that something incredible happened to him and this involved a train being delayed. He met Patricia and they really had something between them from a very brief meeting. He advises her and which trains to take through Scotland, as he is telling his friends about this meeting. When asked what he was going to do, that was pretty obvious and he went to find her again. It sets you up for a quick romance which sees the couple get married.
But everything is not as it seems when we see Eric really suffering and screaming. What exactly is that all about though? That is what we find out for the first half of the film, he will only tell Patricia very small things about it. This brings in Finlay who was with him all the time to help fill in some of the gaps and plays a very huge part in helping out one of his oldest friends.
This film really takes you on an incredible emotional journey and at times is painful to watch. But the pain is temporary and it helps to show how forgiveness can really help heal wounds from the past. If you are strong enough to be able to do that, it makes you think about how you would react if you had been through an ordeal and had a chance for revenge, would you actually want to take it?
Eric Lomax is split between Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine as the film is told in flashback form and they both put in incredible performances in bringing Lomax to life. Capturing the emotion, bravery and suffering into the character. It really is incredible to watch, also believable that they are indeed the same man. How he risked his life in order to save those around him, after the Japanese took him responsible for making the radio.
We must wait for answers throughout the film, but pleased to say that when you find out more about everything it really does feel like a relief to know everything. At first it all seems very closed and you’re not entirely sure what to expect, I wasn’t really sure which way it was all going to go in the end. Eric pushes everyone away and it takes a very poignant message from his friend and the man he called “uncle” to really make him realise that he does indeed want peace for himself.
It is a very complex film in the sense of character development and understand what the soldiers went through and again showing how it all destroyed lives and hurt those around them. Patricia will do anything to help Eric and will stand by him no matter what. The scenes between Eric and Nagase when they are older really are incredible to watch. Someone who put you through so much pain and have hated over the years because of the punishment. You can feel the anger when they are reunited.
Performance wise I really do think Colin Firth was incredible in this film, dare I even say that I found it more moving than his Oscar-winning performance in ‘The King’s Speech’? Well I have to admit that I really did, I thought the acting was amazing for this. Along with Jeremy Irvine taking on the younger Eric role, he had to deal with the torture scenes which couldn’t have been easy. As always Stellan Skarsgard put in a commanding performance in his scenes mainly with Nicole Kidman, who done a good job acting alongside Firth.
I think this film will unfortunately go under the radar when it comes to the cinema this week in UK and I noticed it doesn’t even have a US release date scheduled. Which is such a shame as it really is a fantastic drama, with so much emotion thrown in. 12 Years a Slave seems to be getting all the hype, but what about The Railway Man?