The Railway Man | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 108 minutes · 2014

Biography, Docudrama, Historical Drama
Captured by the Japanese in the 1942 invasion of Singapore, British officer Eric Lomax labored over the Thailand-Burma Railway, just like the soldiers in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), but given the torture and deprivation he endured, this adaptation of his 1995 memoir is unlikely to send you out of the theater whistling. The story opens in 1980, as the damaged veteran (Colin Firth) takes a loving wife (Nicole Kidman) but their happiness is threatened by his night terrors and other emotional problems; eventually he decides to return to southeast Asia and confront one of his torturers, who now runs a war museum (Hiroyuki Sanada). As an early reference to Brief Encounter suggests, this falls squarely in the British tradition of quality, but the cast is excellent (especially Stellan Skarsgård as a fellow survivor) and the screenplay, by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson, is delicately attuned to the emotional cost of war and the terrible struggle to be healed.
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Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Producer: Chris Brown, Bill Curbishley, Claudia Blüemhuber, Ian Hutchinson, Zygi Kamasa, Nick Manzi, Daria Jovicic and Anand Tucker
Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard, Hiroyuki Sanada, Sam Reid, Tanroh Ishida, Tom Stokes, Tom Hobbs, Akos Armont, Bryan Probets, Masa Yamaguchi and Ewen Leslie

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