Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Thursday, 24 April 2014 17:13

'The Railway Man' reclaims and overcomes his POW past + Video

'The Railway Man' reclaims and overcomes his POW past collider.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Related Video

About this Media...

  • Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
  • Dates: Opened April 25, 2014

In "The Railway Man" Eric Lomax first appears in 1980 where he's most comfortable--on a railway car. There he accidentally meets his future wife, Patti, because his train was delayed. He rattles off the circuitous connection he'll make to complete his journey--a lovely metaphor for his emotional passage from traumatized ex-prisoner of war to a psychologically strengthened individual.

Based on the true story of the recently deceased Eric Lomax, "The Railway Man" uses Eric's debilitating flashbacks to 1942 to bare the horrors visited upon captured British and Asian soldiers forced by the Japanese to build the Thai-Burma Railway to move battle supplies to Burmese front lines. Treated, as Lomax says, like animals, Eric is singled out for torture and confinement in a dog size cage when the Japanese find a radio receiver he's engineered. In 1980 when Lomax learns that one of his Japanese captors works at a war museum, he travels there intent on revenge. Interior framing in multiple shots visualizes Lomax's entrapment before his restorative journey.


Australian director Jonathan Teplitzky takes some liberties with Lomax's real story to add tension, but the central themes prevail: interrogating the nature of vicious criminal behavior by otherwise intelligent, educated men (as Lomax describes it when confronting his captor Takashi Nagase) and the lasting repercussions of such treatment. As the older Lomax, Colin Firth delivers his characteristic, contained, quietly intense performance. As the younger Eric, Jeremy Irvine has an uncanny resemblance to Firth in his role. Also superb in supporting roles are Nicole Kidman as wife Patti and Stellan Skarsgård as wartime friend Finlay.


Slightly over a year ago, I walked part of this very Thai-Burma railway line and visited the museum there. One exhibit ran film of healthy British prisoners arriving in the Japanese-run camp; footage from a couple months later showed the same men, emaciated versions of their former selves because of the forced-labor conditions--a daily bowl of rice for nourishment causing deaths from starvation and long hours of breaking through rock and the jungle with primitive tools resulting in fatal diseases.


I cite this to note that the barbarous circumstances for these soldiers were as horrific as depicted in "The Railway Man." And yet Eric Lomax's character healed as we hope it will all who embrace reconciliation. At a Landmark Theatre.


 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

April
Saturday
18

Brunch at the Stage: Tom Hall

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


April
Saturday
18

An Individual Approach to Bluegrass Improvisation and Rhythm Guitar

Folk School of KDHX This is a hands-on, all-level Rhythm Guitar and Improvisation Workshop. The idea of learning how to improvise is intimidating and confusing in the beginning stages. Andy Novara's workshop will prove to you that it is much easier...


April
Monday
20

KDHX Get Down to Business Series: Make Networking Not Suck: The artist as entrep...

Get Down to Business is a series of professional development presentations geared towards the St. Louis arts community. Presented in partnership with St. Lou Fringe, "Make Networking Not Suck: The artist as entrepreneur"...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

4 users and 9627 guests online
Sign in with write an essay Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook