Back when it came out in April, I couldn't seem to find a good time to catch The Railway Man. Fortunately, I was able to rent a copy of it yesterday. And I gotta say, this is a damn good movie.
Eric (Colin Firth/Jeremy Irvine), an officer of the British Army in WWII, is forced into captivity as a POW in Japan. Many years later, he seeks out one of his former captors (Hiroyuki Sanada/Tanroh Ishida) to try and rid himself of his demons once and for all. But this is a true story, and what comes to pass is nothing short of amazing.
So let's start with the obvious. Colin Firth makes this movie. His performance is breathtaking and painful. And I know there are a lot of performances still to come as we shift gears into awards season, but I would not mind in the slightest if this movie got him a few nominations. Nicole Kidman gives what's probably her best performance in years. Perhaps this has something to do with the lack of ridiculous anti-aging makeup and effects that have been added to her in other recent endeavors, but I felt she brought a real lovingness to this role that I haven't seen from her in... well a very long time.
I do wish there would have been more Hiroyuki Sanada in this film, because what little we got of him was just excellent. But at the end of the day, this is not his story. Jeremy Irvine and Tanroh Ishida as the younger versions of the two soldiers really do play their counterparts well and carry the flashback sequences with ease.
This is a film with great direction (Jonathan Teplitzky), an excellent screenplay (Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson), several great performances, and cinematography (Garry Phillips) that will make your heart melt. This is the kind of film we've been sorely missing since David Lean stopped in 1984. And if you get a chance to check this out, I highly recommend it.