Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: The Railway Man

World of Blackout Film Review

The Railway Man Poster

The Railway Man (SPOILERS)
Cert: 15 / 116 mins / Dir. Jonathan Teplitzky
WoB Rating: 4/7

It gives me no great pleasure to say that I wasn't really moved either way by The Railway Man. What should have been a thoroughly thought-provoking, if not harrowing, study of pride, post-traumatic stress disorder and forgiveness came over as a rather clunky melodrama (albeit with remarkably solid acting, somehow).

Despite the excellent, tense atmosphere the film creates, I wasn't really moved by the scenes of emotional breakdown in the first act, wasn't really horrified by those of torture in the second, and wasn't convinced by the reconciliation in the third; all of which is only exacerbated by the fact that this actually happened. The film doesn't get all War Horse about the moral issues at play, but it makes little attempt to paint grey areas either. I was expecting the story to convey the horrors of war, but instead only learned that Eric Lomax had a really shitty time of things after 1942 (which I knew before I went in, so…).

Maybe the film, being released strategically for awards-season, has just been paled by its competition in 2014? Or maybe choice lines of emphasised dialogue like "I am happy" and "I am sorry" sound like they should have been left at the first draft?

…then again, the audience around me seemed fairly engrossed, so maybe the problem with this film lies with this viewer.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much, yeah.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I didn't. You might.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not for me, but hopefully for the folks who made it, yes.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
The cinematography's nice, but you don't need to see it on a massive screen.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I won't.

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There ain't.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
1) In 'the funeral scene', why do the surviving comrades all have Scottish accents? They didn't when they were prisoners.
2) Looking at the standard-issue 'comparison' photos over the final credits, Jeremy Irvine looks like the young Eric Lomax, and Colin Firth looks like the old Eric Lomax. And Eric Lomax looks like Eric Lomax. So why doesn't Jeremy Irvine look like Colin Firth*1?

*1 Even though Jeremy Irvine does a bloody good job of acting and sounding like Colin Firth, and underlining the fact that Colin Firth is really just acting and sounding like Colin Firth. #ColinFirth

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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