Friday, November 11, 2016

Worthwhile Movie #15 - The Railway Man

I rarely like a movie more than the book on which it is based, but Railway Man is one exception. I read the book a few years ago and felt the conclusion was flimsy.

It tells the story of a young soldier in WWII, tortured by his Japanese captors. After the war he spends many years planning how he will take revenge. But when he finally meets his arch enemy, things turn out quite differently. Yet the motivation for forgiveness is never quite clear.

That's where the film fills in the blanks. The movie invents quite a bit of drama regarding the reconciliation of Lomax and Takeshi, which makes the reconciliation more believable.

I like films that are more cerebral than action-packed and this one does not disappoint. (Although mercifully few, the flashbacks of torture scenes are very violent. Pressing the mute buttons helps me to get through them.) The filming is excellent, the dialogue good, and the acting understated. I've heard mixed reviews on Colin Firth's acting ability, but he plays the silent sufferer to perfection. Nicole Kidman is quite good even though the film makers were unsuccessful in making her look like a plain housewife.

Unbroken, To End All Wars and Jacob De Shazer's personal testimony are more satisfying stories than the one by Lomax, but I highly recommend this film to fans of WWII POW history for it's fine filming, excellent dialogue and redemptive truths.

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