The Railway Man


The Film

The Railway Man is a British film, released in the UK in 2014, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky. It is an adaptation of the bestselling autobiography of the same name by Eric Lomax, and stars Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Hiroyuki Sanada and Jeremy Irvine.

During World War II, Eric Lomax (Irvine) is a British officer who is captured by the Japanese in Singapore and sent to a POW camp, where he is forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. During his time in the camp, Lomax is tortured by the Kempetai primarily for building a radio.

Years later and still suffering the psychological trauma of his wartime experiences, with the help of his wife Patti (Kidman) and best friend Finlay (Skarsgård), Lomax (Firth) decides to find and confront one of his captors. He returns to the scene of his torture after he has tracked down Japanese officer Takashi Nagase (Sanada) "in an attempt let go of a lifetime of bitterness and hate".


Colin Firth as older Eric Lomax
Nicole Kidman as Patti Lomax (née Wallace)
Jeremy Irvine as younger Lomax
Stellan Skarsgård as older Finlay
Sam Reid as younger Finlay
Hiroyuki Sanada as older Takashi Nagase
Tanroh Ishida as younger Nagase
Marta Dusseldorp as Memsahib
Masa Yamaguchi as Kempai officer
Keiichi Enomoto as Sakamoto
James Fraser as Duncan
Shoota Tanahashi as Japanese mechanic
Akos Armont as Jackson
Micheal Doonan as Doctor Rogers


While he was working on the screenplay, co-writer Frank Cottrell Boyce travelled to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland with Firth to meet 91-year-old Lomax.

Firth said of the film: "I think what is not often addressed is the effect over time. We do sometimes see stories about what it's like coming home from war, we very rarely see stories about what it's like decades later. This is not just a portrait of suffering. It's about relationships ... how that damage interacts with intimate relationships, with love."

Rachel Weisz was originally to play Patti, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with re-shoots for other films.

Shooting began in April 2012 in Edinburgh and North Berwick in East Lothian and St Monans in Fife, and later in Thailand and Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.