Saturday, April 26 2014, 11:12 AM MDT
Movie Review: The Railway Man
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård
Genre: Biography, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for a decent drama that doesn’t quite live up to the talents of its cast.
Synopsis: Eric (Colin Firth) suffers from traumatic flashbacks to the time when he was a British Army officer trapped in a Japanese labor camp towards the end of World War II. His wife, Patti (Nicole Kidman), is devoted, but struggles to understand his suffering. When Eric discovers that the man he holds responsible for this torture while in the camp is still alive he seeks him out in hopes of exacting revenge.
Review: The Railway Man is an intensely personal story with broad universal themes. It’s a good film with solid performances from its talented cast, but it fails to really connect with its emotional core. Whereas a film like Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line is able to really grab an audience and get them inside of the various characters and their struggles in facing the emotional and physical demands of war Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man doesn’t really go beneath the surface. The story is told and leaves little room for misunderstanding, but it is missing a higher sense of artistry and craft. It doesn’t inspire like The King’s Speech or shake you to the core like the beach landing sequence in Saving Private Ryan did. It makes a solid effort in contrasting beautiful cinematography with the harsh realities of war and the way it echoes and haunts the soldiers that are forever bruised and scarred by their service. Unfortunately it falls still short of what Malick was able to do, but even the workmanlike effort of The Railway Man pays off with modest results.
-Ryan Michael Painter