While I’ve mentioned a number of films in the past, with brief recommendations for most, I’ve never done a single post dedicated to a film. Well, here’s the first, and it’s an odd first. I have yet to see this movie, but I recommend it wholeheartedly. Here’s why.
First, the name – “The Railway Man”. It is a story about a Brit who was a Japanese POW and worked on the Thai-Burma Railway. Some of you might have heard of this infamous route from the movie “Bridge on the River Kwai”. This tale, however, is a true one, the story of a man named Eric Lomax. This film not only covers his time as a prisoner, but also his later life as he seeks some resolution to his PTSD resulting from his captivity.
I recommend this for two reasons. Firstly, it tells a tale too often forgotten in World War Two history. The China-Burma-India Theatre, as the US referred to it, was a bitterly fought campaign between US and Commonwealth troops on one side, and the Japanese on the other. (Mr. Lomax is captured at the fall of Singapore shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.) Often referred to as the Forgotten War (years before the Korean War in 1950 would subsume that title), the tale of these men is frequently eclipsed by more famous battles such as Guadalcanal and Midway early in the war, and Iwo Jima and Okinawa later on. The film provides an insight into the people and the events of this neglected part of WW2.
I also recommend the film for its’ examination of one man’s battle with what we now know as PTSD. I have met a number of veterans who have born the memories of war with great difficulty, whether it be bad dreams, memories they would not speak of, or an inability to deal with everyday life. I can’t state exactly how the film resolves Mr. Lomax’s problems, but from the preliminary information I’ve read, it is both honest and sympathetic in both portrayal and resolution – perhaps a bit sugar-coated in the end, to ensure ticket sales, but such is the influence of Hollywood money.
Okay, now I hear you saying “But you haven’t seen the darn ting, how the heck can you recommend it?”. I have seen previews and read reviews, both of which can be slanted. I’ve seen interviews with the star, Colin Firth, a man for whose acting I have great respect. But in the end, I recommend this film for one simple reason. It takes the audience into areas that have rarely been explored previously. It has the courage to venture both into an unknown theatre of WW2, and into the equally-poorly explored areas of a person’s attempts to deal with the horror and trauma that comes from going to war. I can’t point out specific scenes as exemplary – yet – and I can’t specifically compare it to other films I’ve seen – again, yet. But I have tagged it in my own mind as a must-see. And whether it fully lives up to my expectations or not, I am sure I will watch it multiple times when it comes to one of the movie channels I get.
So go see “The Railway Man”. You may be moved, you may be delighted, you may be saddened, but I have a strong suspicion you will NOT soon forget it. And that is the highest praise anyone can give to this film.
The movie’s website: http://www.railwaymanmovie.co.uk/