Academy Award winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in the true story of Eric Lomax, a British soldier in World War II who endured gruelling conditions as a forced labourer on the Thailand Death Railway after being captured by Japanese troops.
The Railway Man
For the first time, two of cinema's most acclaimed and admired actors work together in The Railway Man.
Eric Lomax (Colin Firth, also appearing at the Festival in Devil's Knot) is a quiet, middle-aged radio and railway enthusiast. He meets kind, sunny Patti (Nicole Kidman) one afternoon on a Scottish train. The year is 1983. A whirlwind courtship and wedding follow, but on their wedding night, and for many nights to come, Eric succumbs to graphic, paralyzing nightmares. He provides Patti no explanation.
Confused and hurt by her new husband's remoteness, Patti turns to Eric's friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgård), who finally discloses her husband's harrowing secret: along with thousands of other British soldiers captured by the Japanese during the Second World War, Eric was forced to work on the construction of the Thailand- Burma Railway — the so-called Death Railway. When a secret radio he had built was discovered, he was brutally tortured by a Japanese officer. Realizing that there is only one way to save her marriage, Patti begins the search for the man who haunts her husband's soul.
“ Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong, ” wrote Mahatma Gandhi. If true then Eric Lomax, who died last year, was akin to Hercules. Jonathan Teplitzky's adaptation of Lomax's bestselling memoir chronicles the stunning true story of one man's epic journey toward forgiving those who had done him unspeakable harm.
As Patti, Kidman exudes grace and fortitude in every frame. As the Japanese officer Nagase, Hiroyuki Sanada offers a deeply affecting portrayal of a man burdened by decades of guilt. Firth inhabits Eric's fears, his containment, and his rage with tremendous dexterity — he is a revelation in this role, far from his more familiar debonair persona.
In a world often overcome by violence and hatred, the redemptive power of the story of Lomax and Nagase is a gift to us all.