The Railway Man (movie review)

The Railway Man is a little known drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman that no one liked except me.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m just shocked that The Railway Man is at a meager 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the critics who didn’t like it… well, I just don’t understand their point of view.

Here are some of the negative blurbs from Rotten Tomatoes:
Shawn Hazelett: The Railway Man is an ambitious, well-intentioned film plagued by flat, predictable storytelling.
I will certainly agree that the movie is predictable, but the movie is about post traumatic stress disorder, confronting one’s past, mercy, love and hope – also, since Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine play the same character, it’s clear that Lomax isn’t going to die in the prison, but that’s what the movie’s about. It’s about this guy’s life… If Mr. Hazelett is disappointed that Lomax didn’t go back and kill that guy and he did the predictable thing and showed mercy, I feel that I must suggest that he missed the point of the movie entirely.

Wesley Morris: The filmmakers don’t have the nerve for a serious consideration of trauma, vengeance, and forgiveness.
Are you kidding me? I had to watch them beat that dude with a stick and waterboard him for like half an hour! Colin Firth was writhing around on the floor in agony!

Liam Lacey: The critical problems are an overbusy time-jumping script and reliance on the conventions of the trauma drama – flashbacks, fragmentation, distorted time and space – that prove more a barrier than a window into the character’s inner lives.

Make up your mind, Mr. Lacey – is it time-jumping or flashbacks? I don’t think it’s both – I think it’s time-jumping.
Like Mr. Hazelett, I must accuse you of missing the point of the movie. Those two characters understood each other better than anyone, and through their understanding of what happened to them in the past, we understand how they feel in the present. They opened the window, you just didn’t walk through it.

If it’s not already obvious, I liked the movie a lot, but clearly, other people’s opinions are valid and not the tiniest of minorities – I’m sure feelings on the flick not shared by me are part of the reason why the film didn’t get a major (or even half ass) release. I don’t want to go on and spoil it for you – this is clearly a divisive picture and I strongly encourage you to check it out and form your own opinion.

That being said, the performances, themes and visuals are strong in The Railway Man, and I think that’s easily enough to merit a viewing. I’m pretty sure it’s on demand now via some providers and I’m sure it’ll make it’s way to Netflix and what not in the near future. I’m giving The Railway Man an 8 out of 10 – it’s a solid picture.


About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 3, 2014, in lists, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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