THE RAILWAY MAN
We went to see this movie last night, my friend asked me to see it because she knows that I’m a history enthusiast, and this movie (and the book) is based on a true story. The book was written by Eric Lomax. The movie stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
During World War II, Eric Lomax (who is played by Colin Firth) a British Officer who is captured by the Japanese in Singapore and sent to a POW camp, where him and his fellow soldiers are forced to do hard labour work on the Thai Burma Railway. During his time in the camp, Lomax is tortured by an officer.
During his later years, he suffers from the trauma from his wartime experiences, and his wife wants to find a way to help him, his wife Patti is played by actress Nicole Kidman. He finds out that one of the men who tortured him and captured him and treated him cruelly is still alive, and he goes out of his way to travel overseas, confront his past as well as confront Japanese officer Takashi Nagese.
I asked my friend after watching this film whether she could forgive someone who was involved with the torture, possible disability or possible death of herself or someone she loved. She said she would find it very difficult, I agree I would find it hard to forgive anyone for that whether it was towards me or somebody else. If Eric Lomax did go back to kill him or harm, you couldn’t really blame him after what he was put through. I’m not a big fan of ‘forgiving’ if someone does something bad to you it’s because they chose to and they wanted to, and didn’t care about you or your feelings at the time. People often say sorry to save their own skin, or so they won’t get a damaged name in return – but often I find people say sorry for the wrong reasons, and not the right ones. Most of the people who have done wrong to me, have never apologised and it’s most probably because they aren’t.
I think people forgive a lot for religious reasons, The Bible says to forgive. I’m not a fan or religion and I’ve always known myself or other people who have forgiven people who have done something wrong to them usually end up doing the same thing to them again, or something similar or worse. I believe in distancing myself or cutting someone out of my life completely if they have harmed me in a serious way, walking away from them, but I’m not a big fan of revenge either. I think you should just get rid of negativity and keep positive people and things you love in your life, in order to get a good life.
I admit I do watch the reality television series Big Brother and my father says it’s my biggest downfall and I’m intelligent enough to realise he is right. The housemates on the show make me cringe they are usually moronic, bitchy, care about their looks more than their mind and if there is anyone on the show that does have a brain they usually get kicked out earlier on. I remember watching it this year where a young man called Tim (who had won) who asked Ben (who should have won) “Would you still be friends with me if you found me selling all your DVD’s on EBay?” Ben replied “I have cut people out of my life for less.” Ben went on and told Tim that he once cut a ten year friendship because the friend expected him to pay for his meat pie and drink.
I read a lot about history and true life stories and sometimes I read true crime stories, and you will often hear about parents forgiving their children’s murderers and you often question how they could possibly do that. I was thinking the same with this situation in this movie (and book), how could you forgive them? I don’t think they are really forgiving them, I think often when people forgive someone who has done something really monstrous they are doing so to heal themselves, they aren’t forgiving the person or what the person has done – they are forgiving them to get rid of the hatred and the anger and so they can get on with their life with a bit of harmony, because the longer they live with the hate, the hatred controls them and makes them miserable and bitter and people can’t live like that. I think that’s why people forgive those who have done seriously ill towards them or another person, because if they don’t their wound won’t heal.
Screenplay and co-writer Frank Cottrell Boyce travelled up to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland with actor Colin Firth to meet the then 91-year-old Eric Lomax.
"I think what is not often addressed is the effect over time. We do sometimes see stories about what it’s like coming home from war; we very rarely see stories about what it’s like decades later. This is not just a portrait of suffering. It’s about relationships … how that damage interacts with intimate relationships, with love."
- Colin Firth
Rachel Weisz was originally supposed to play the role of Patti Lomax, but dropped out because of scheduling conflicts, so Nicole Kidman took the role. The film began shooting in 2012 in Edinburgh, North Berwick, East Lothian, Thailand and Queensland Australia.
Colin Firth is a great actor and everyone loves him, my BFF thinks he’s the hottest thing around. He is aging a bit in this film he’s not young anymore. He looked awful with the moustache and thankfully he rid of it. I think I know him best by playing Mr Darcy (of course) and he was in Bridget Jones. I read somewhere that Helen Fielding has killed Colin Firth’s character off, and now Bridget Jones is now a single mother with two kids and I heard her character is now in her 50s (????) I could be wrong but I heard there could be another Bridget Jones movie, I could presume that Colin Firth won’t be in the next BJ’s movie and if he is he won’t be living long in it. Nicole Kidman who is a brilliant Australian actress, this wasn’t a main role, but she did well in it. Her hair is dark and in a bob and she looks closer to her sister Antonia Kidman in this film. Nicole Kidman has the most amazing sparkling blue eyes. All the other actors in this film even the minor one’s did such a great job. The casting was done so well for this film. The young man, who plays Eric Lomax when he was young, is such a fine actor and its incredible how much he looks like Colin Firth, you would think they were the same people. The young actor is the spit image of a young Colin Firth, talks like him and even acts like him on screen. The actor who plays the Japanese interpreter also did an amazing great job. As well as the actor who plays Eric Lomax friend.
My favourite parts off this film was the history scenes where it was set in the prison camp where they had to build the train railway line, I love history so of course I’m going to love those scenes the best. Some of the torture and beating scenes were hard to watch. I haven’t read the book, but I would like to – I would like to read both of these men’s books. I would like to know what part of the films is true and what wasn’t. I love reading and I can read about 4 books at a time, the books are always better than the movie. I usually read about history events before I watch them, so this time I will have to do the opposite.
Eric Lomax was born on 30 May 1919 and passed away on 8 October 2012. He was sent to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in 1942, he later released a book called The Railway Man, about his experiences, before and after World War II, and he won the 1996 NCR Book Award and the J. R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography.
When he was 19 in 1939, he joined the Royal Corpos of Signals before World War II broke out. He was a Royal Signlas officer. He was captured by the Japanese following the surrender of Singapore in 1942. He with other prisoners, were forced to march to Changi Prison, he was then taken to Thailand and forced to build the Burma Railway.
He was later reconciliation with one of his former torturers, interpreter Takashi Nagase of Japan, on the bridge over the river Kwai, which was built by prisoner-of-war labour. Takashi had written a book on his own experiences during and after the war entitled CROSSES AND TIGERS, and it financed a Buddhist temple at the bridge to atone for his actions during the war. The meeting between the two men was filmed as a documentary ENEMY, MY FRIEND? In 1995 directed by Mike Finlason. The film received several awards.
Lomax’s autobiography The Railway Man was published in 1995. It was made into a television drama PRISONERS IN TIME starring John Hurt as Lomax in 1995. Eric Lomax was a council member of The Freedom Association. Lomax death was announced on the BBC in 2012 he was 93 when he passed away.