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Jonathan Teplitzky
Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard
Writing Credits:
Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson

Academy Award® Winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in the remarkable autobiography of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a British Army officer who is captured by the Japanese during WWII and sent to a POW camp, where he is tormented and forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. Decades later, still suffering the trauma of his wartime experiences, Lomax and his wife Patti (Nicole Kidman) discover that the Japanese interpreter responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and set out to confront him, in this powerful and inspiring tale of heroism, humanity and the redeeming power of love.

Box Office:
$18 million
Opening Weekend
$61,845 on 4 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8/12/2014

• Audio Commentary with Director Jonathan Teplitzky and Co-Writer/Producer Andy Paterson
• “The Making of The Railway Man” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Railway Man [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 29, 2014)

Oscar-winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman pair for 2014’s The Railway Man. Based on a true story, the film introduces us to Eric Lomax (Firth), a World War II veteran who obsesses over rail timetables and related ephemera. In 1980, he takes a train to Scotland and meets Patti (Kidman); they launch an improbable romance and eventually marry.

Despite his happiness with this relationship, Eric suffers from painful memories of his time during World War II. As a POW under the Japanese, Eric (Jeremy Irvine) underwent torture and other terrible circumstances. The film follows Eric’s attempts to deal with his past while he focuses on his present – and also how he reacts when he learns the current whereabouts of one of his captors.

Some movies lack the material to sustain themselves across their running times, whereas others attempt to pack too much into limited lengths. Railway falls into the latter category, as the multiple era-spanning tale offers too much narrative material to fit comfortably into its 108 minutes.

Truthfully, Railway could be split into at least two – and maybe three - separate films, and the movie’s “overstuffed” nature causes problems. Essentially the WWII and 1980 segments exist in their own worlds, and the attempts to connect the two don’t fit in a comfortable manner.

This becomes most noticeable when Railway departs 1980 to spend a substantial period in WWII. I think the film would work better if it devoted less time to Eric’s past and concentrated on him in 1980. While we clearly need a decent amount of info about his POW experiences, the movie could have alluded to these in a shorter time span and been more satisfying.

Given that I opined Railway would work best as two separate films, it may seem illogical to argue that the WWII scenes should occupy less of it. I feel that way because what we find doesn’t last long enough to fully explore those moments, and the movie integrates the two eras in a way that makes the WWII elements a bit of a distraction. If the POW segments had more space to stretch, they’d work better and seem less awkward.

While I’m not wild about the construction of the film, I do still think Railway tells a good story, and the actors do their best to flesh out the material. Clearly we get a strong cast, and Firth brings depth to Eric. Kidman gets too little to do as Patti, but she adds some breadth to the part, and all the actors fill out their roles in a compelling manner.

I remain less than enthusiastic about the movie’s semi-disjointed nature, though. Railway tells an important tale and occasionally lives up to the source, but it lacks the time to expand on the material as well as it should.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

The Railway Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed strong.

Overall definition seemed good, with only a little softness along the way. Any instances of softness stayed minor and created no real distractions. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws remained absent.

As one might expect, the film opted for a stylized palette, though tints varied dependent on setting. The 1980 scenes used a golden impression or teal, while the WWII moments went with an amber tint. Within those choices, the colors appeared positive. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed appropriate delineation. I felt pleased with the transfer.

Despite the story’s focus on characters, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack came with a fair amount of sonic pizzazz. Scenes on/related to trains used the spectrum well, and the flashbacks to WWII added a lot of involving material. These gave the mix many chances for active use of the five speakers and it created a broad, engaging spectrum.

Audio quality was solid. Effects came across as accurate and concise, and speech seemed natural and crisp. Music was lush and full as well. This became a better than expected mix with a lot of kick to it.

When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Jonathan Teplitzky and co-writer/producer Andy Paterson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas and editing, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, factual areas and related subjects.

Overall, Teplitzky and Paterson combine for a good chat. I do admit I’d like to know more about liberties taken and Eric Lomax’s real story, but that’s a pretty minor complain. The track moves well and covers a solid array of topics.

Hosted by journalist Lisa Ling, The Making of The Railway Man runs 26 minutes, seven seconds. It includes comments from Teplitzky, Paterson, author Eric Lomax and wife Patti, and actors Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Sam Reid, Tanroh Ishida, and Jeremy Irvine. The show looks at the story behind the film and its adaptation, narrative/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, and general thoughts.

The best aspects of “Making” come from our visits with Eric and Patti, as I like our chance to hear from and meet the real people behind the movie’s tale. Otherwise, however, this feels like an ordinary promotional piece. It throws out a smattering of decent nuggets but lacks a lot of depth.

The disc opens with ads for Philomena and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. No trailer for Railway shows up here.

At its heart, The Railway Man brings us a strong story. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always live up to its potential, as it seems a bit too scattered and rushed to truly succeed. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio as well as an enjoyable commentary. Railway occasionally succeeds but it feels more inconsistent than I’d like.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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