Colin Firth is a mess in this moving trailer for THE RAILWAY MAN

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While a film about a certain loud shirt wearing, freedom fighting, apocalypse cancelling ex-President of ours may have hogged some of the headlines at the Toronto International Film Festival, there’s another film featuring a man unfairly locked up for years who gets to meet with his jailers many years later, that also looks like it may just be a contender come awards season. No, I’m not talking about Oldboy.

The Railway Man is new true story drama featuring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård and the Silver Samurai, and judging by the film’s first trailer, and the overwhelmingly positive buzz coming out of TIFF, it’s going to be quite the emotional journey.

Throughout his childhood Eric Lomax (Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine playing the older and younger Lomax) possessed a passion for trains. In an ironic twist of fate, he was captured by the Japanese during World War II and sent to Thailand to work on the infamous Burma-Siam railroad, the barbaric project that claimed the lives of 250,000 men. There he constructed a radio to bring news of the war and secretly drew a map of the railroad. For this, Lomax suffered brutal and incessant torture and interrogation. Standing by through it all was Nagase Takashi, a young Japanese soldier who translated the captor’s questions and Lomax’s replies. Fifty years later, Lomax sought out this Japanese tormentor, meeting him on a hillside overlooking the River Kwai Bridge. But Lomax’s object in meeting Takashi again was not revenge. It was reconciliation.

Here is a remarkable true story of forgiveness–a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. A classic war autobiography, The Railway Man is a powerful tale of survival and of the human capacity to understand even those who have done us unthinkable harm.

*sniff* Damn it, Darryn, are you cutting onions in here again? *sniff*

Facial waterworks aside, that looks like a seriously powerful drama. Firth has come a long way as an actor since his Mr Darcy days, and he proved with The King’s Speech that when given the right material he can rise far above his rom-com beginnings. And while Kidman, Skarsgard and Irvine all seem to be doing stellar work (especially the young Irvine, who already showed quite a bit of promise in War Horse), I have a feeling that the other person to keep an eye on here is Hiroyuki Sanada. The Japanese actor is having quite the year when it comes to being exposed to Western audiences. He was great in The Wolverine, will be clashing swords with Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin at the end of the year, and now this.

The Railway Man will be released in the UK and Australia on December 26, 2013. Further international release dates still have to be set.

Last Updated: September 11, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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