Written by / 5/07/2014 / No comments / , , , , ,

COLIN FIRTH STARS IN THE RAILWAY MAN

2014 rating: **
If there were an Oscar for movie trailers, THE RAILWAY MAN would be nominated since it has everything for a prisoner of war drama, neatly "captured" within a three minute time-frame…

And yet, while thematically resembling an Oscar frontrunner, RAILWAY the motion picture, starring Colin Firth as Eric, a mild-mannered train enthusiast in England who meets the woman of his dreams (on a train, no less) and mentally goes back to his harrowing World War II experience as a POW in the Pacific, has way more style than substance.

The flashbacks center on a troop of British soldiers forced to build an impossible set of train tracks across a thick Asian jungle, taking us out of the troubled present-time romance of Eric and Kidman’s Patti, the latter getting advice from Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd as Finlay, formerly in charge of Eric’s imprisoned troop...

The backstory has an intriguing BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI aura, yet there are surprisingly few scenes about the men and their plight, a true life tale loaded with gritty potential. 

Once young Eric, played by a perfectly-cast Jeremy Irving, lands in trouble for putting together a radio, the film narrows down into beatings and torture by the prison’s young Japanese ringleader, Takeshi… That is, until the main plot is unveiled as the adult Eric ventures to Japan, seeking revenge on his former captor. 

For a two hour movie, RAILWAY ultimately feels like a short film… Not that it should have been any longer, but despite the dramatic score reminiscent of a SCHINDER’S LIST style epic, and the talent on board, we’re never given enough depth in either story, past or present, to make this a cathartic journey worth taking.
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