The Railway Man Movie Review Summary

Actors: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Railway Man

Eric Lomax is a middle aged English man still haunted by the trauma that he suffered as a prisoner of war. Eric Lomax is kind of a nerdy guy. He is obsessed with trains, railways and timetables. He wears shabby clothes, he has gray hair, a mustache and a big pair of glasses. His only friends are his old buddies from War World II.
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One day, riding yet another train and being deeply buried in his timetables, Eric happens to sit in front of a nice woman. She starts talking to him about train routs and the English countryside and he seems impressed by her knowledge. Yet, he gets off the train without even asking her name. Next morning, Eric tells his friends at the Veterans Club that he is in love and he leaves in a hurry. He tracks down the woman and he finds her in a train station. Shortly after that, Eric and Patti get married.   

Patti realizes that Eric is far from being an ordinary guy. He hallucinates almost every day. He is reliving the trauma that he suffered while being a prisoner over and over again but he refuses to talk to his wife about the things that happened during the war.

Patti goes to the Veterans Club and she asks one of Eric's friends for help. Finlay tells her that a group of British engineers were left behind when the army surrendered and Singapore was left in the hands of the Japanese Army. They were taken prisoners and forced to help building a railway through the jungle all the way to Burma. Eric and his friends built a radio from the parts they had managed to hide in their clothes before they were captured.

They managed to receive some radio signals from BBC and they found out that the British Army was bombing Japan and they were hopeful that they will escape that nightmare very soon.

Eric was an engineer and he loved trains. He drew a small map of the new railway and hid it in a safe place. The Japanese discovered the radio and the map and Eric was badly beaten. He took the blame for building the radio and after a week he was taken away from the camp. He was taken to a dark chamber and tortured by a Japanese soldier until he told him that Japan was being heavily bombed by the British Army.

Finley tells Patti that the Japanese officer that tortured Eric is still alive and that she must convince Eric to go there and get revenge. Eric refuses to meet Nagase, the former Japanese officer, and Finlay kills himself. Eric goes to Burma and he finds Nagase. He finds out that the man was deeply ashamed for what he did and that he was doing pilgrimages and trying to salvage what was left of his life. Eric can't kill him and he returns home to his wife.

After a while, Patti and Eric take a trip to Burma and they both meet Nagase. Eric and Nagase decide to let bygones be bygones and they cry in each other's arms.
Best part of story, including ending: This is a very sad story. I liked the fact that the movie was based on a real life story but the beatings and the torture scenes were a little bit too much for me.

Best scene in story: I liked the scene where Eric and Patti were dancing and trying to have a normal life even if they were far from being a normal couple.

Opinion about the main character: Eric is portrayed as a tormented guy who is ready to seek revenge. I liked that he decided to forgive and forget and he didn't taint his hands on more blood. The movie is an emphasis on the idea that bloodshed is not always the solution for regaining one's peace of mind.   

The review of this Movie prepared by Andreea Lupei a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Script Analysis of The Railway Man

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1980's-1999 War impact on civilians/veterans    -   Yes Kind of conflict:    -   war, WW II

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   engineer Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Asia/Pacific/Middle East    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Southeast Asia Misc setting    -   fort/military installation

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very explicit references to deaths and torture Sex/nudity in movie?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   kissing Any profanity?    -   None Is this movie based on a    -   book

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