The Railwayman film review – justice is done to a true story

Posted on 12 January 2014
By Amy Clarke
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World War II Veteran Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) is suffering from server post traumatic stress, when he discovers his torturer is still alive. Eric seeks justice and decides to meet the man who is responsible for his daily flash backs of torture.

The film is set in the 80s and flashes back and forth to WWII. Eric’s sudden decision to confront his fears comes when he meets Patti (Nicole Kidman). Eric and Patti meet on a train, fall in love and marry. But, unknown to Patti living with Eric means living with an emotionally damaged man.

What makes this film interesting is that the dramatic events throughout the film are all a reality, including the meeting with his former torturer. Based on the autobiography from the real Eric Lomax, the screenplay is written by Liverpudlian screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who recently spoke at a panel talk about holding regular meetings with Eric whilst writing the script.

The portrayal of Eric by Colin Firth is believable in portraying a full spectrum of emotion in the film. In one of the first scenes Eric is happy and in love with Patti, he lies in bed with her but she soon finds him on the floor shaking in fear, Eric is emotionally scarred and this is damaging their new marriage.

Perhaps the let down of the film is Nicole Kidman’s performance – who’s facial expressions seem frozen as if she is constantly aware of the camera, or she could be afraid to smile in case a wrinkle shows.

A young Eric is played by The War Horse actor Jeremy Irvine, who holds an uncanny resemblance to the real Eric Lomax. The Railwayman is a well made film, with well cast all-star actors. But, most importantly it does Eric Lomax’s story justice.