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on 26 January 2014
As the daughter of a Far East POW I was wondering how close to the 'real thing' this film was going to be. Dad had told me a little of what happened so I knew it wasn't going to be easy viewing. I would absolutely recommend this film to anyone who wishes to find out more about that time - there is so little compared to other WW2 experiences. It also shows the amazing ability to be able to forgive and so move on. It has made me want to visit the area myself which isn't something I could have coped with before.
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This is an excellent film in all aspects.

At its core it is the story of forgiveness.

Based on the true life story of Eric Lomax who was captured by the Japanese, forced to work on the impossible to build Burma Railway and tortured severely.

The movie is told in Flashbacks with Eric being played by Colin Firth as the older Lomaz whilst Jeremy Irvine puts in a stellar performance as the younger.

I was pleased Irvine looked like he was from the 1930s. If this were Holywoodized the actor would have looked ripped, tanned and from the 2000 and 10s.
I do think Colin Firth, although a great actor should have been made up to look less young and prettified- but this is a minor quibble.

Nicole Kidman is wonderful in her support.
She too does not look like a blonde bombshell but in this performance she demonstrates what a good actress she is- a pleasant surprise.

The torture scenes and beatings are brutal.
But then they were in real life.
The savage beatings with a pick axe handle the crunch of the broken bones and body hit hard- but then they should to convey the horror of just how the Japanese treated their prisoners who they considered to have 'No Honour' because they surrendered.
the film could have been longer - easily but it does not waste a second in its narration of the film.

I wanted to see the picture for two reasons.
Firstly I am of that generation were all our dads fought in the Second World War- the Granddads had fought in the First World War. Both my father and Uncles never talked about it. They would never give much information away about the war.

My Uncle was captured by the Japanese and forced to slave in a salt mine- it ruined his eyes. BUT I never realised that he had in fact fought in the War- it was never mentioned. Seeing this film I can understand why they never wanted to talk about it.

The other reason is that my Christian Men's Group are studying the Ten Commandments. The question of Forgiveness came up and as group we decided to watch the film which portrays forgiveness well.
At the end of the film there was silence.

It is a thoughtful film, well made and Worthy.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 January 2014
Based on the 1995 memoir of Eric Lomax, the Royal Signals Officer who was tortured by the Japanese when deployed on the construction of the infamous Burma railway, this film uses flashbacks to show the reasons for his emotional repression with violent outbursts of post traumatic stress decades after the event. Colin Firth, a master in this kind of role, plays the older Lomax, with Jeremy Irvine putting in a strong performance as his younger self, earnest, floppy-haired and prepared with quiet bravery to take the rap for the assembly of an illicit radio receiver. Nicole Kidman assumes a convincing English accent to play the sympathetic new wife who is determined to extract Lomax from his mental agony. When Lomax discovers in the 1980s that Takashi Nagase, the young interpreter who played a key part in his torture, is still alive, working, of all things, as a guide at the Kanchanaburi War Museum (close to the famous bridge on the river Kwai) he is initially bent on revenge as a means of exorcising his demons.

I was disappointed by the first half: dialogues often seem stilted as in the "Brief Encounter" style meeting on a train between Lomax and his future wife Patti. Lomax looks much younger than the fellow officers with whom he has kept in contact, and he could have done with a few more scars and grey hairs. The sets "back home" have more of a 1950s feel than the 1980s as I remember them. Worst of all, the earlier scenes in the jungle are often confusing or hammy, apart from the final harrowing torture in the dreaded hut. Overall, the script and direction often appear wooden until the final resolution.

The film was saved for me by the second part of the film which is unpredictable, moving and well-developed. Throughout, the scenery is beautiful, both in the Kwai valley, despite the horror of the slave labour and brutality, and in the scenery around Lomax's stark grey house overlooking a golden beach and the sea at, I think, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

I have read that, in fact, Lomax had a first wife for the best part of forty years, whom he left for Patti, and two daughters, all largely omitted from his memoir. I understand why the director let this stand, in order perhaps to create a tighter and more focused drama, but this has been at the price of concealing and neglecting other lives directly blighted by what Lomax suffered.

The film may not do justice to the highly acclaimed autobiography.
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on 8 May 2014
Once more the immortal words of Robert Burns ring true: "Mans' ihumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn" in the never ending atrocities which continue to the present day, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are superb in the leading roles of this harrowing true story from the war in the Far East. Well worth watching BUT extremely sad.
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on 31 October 2014
What a story! How simply told! Not a trace of mawkishness or self pity, despite his terrible experiences. My own father managed to escape from Singapore at the time of the surrender. He had an awful time too during that period in an open boat with a few others. A bunch of soldiers trying to navigate by the stars at night and hiding along the coast by day. Dad said it was a very difficult time but later on, when he heard about what had happened to those left behind, he felt that their hardship had been much worse than his. A marvellous account of adversity and the difficulties of living with the impact of it all.
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on 29 December 2014
A difficult subject to portray in a film lasting 2 hours due to its complexity and wishing to make it entertaining to a mass market. It almost completely succeeds. I would really like to award the film 4.5 but that is not possible.Great acting as you would expect from the distinguished cast. I just felt that some aspects of the script and production left a little to be desired. However, a film very well worth seeing. At the conclusion on the film I was left with a great sense of emotion about the many achievements of Eric Lomax throughout his life. What an exceptionally brave man that demonstrated to us a model all of how he dealt with real challenges but was able to conclude his life in both peace and dignity.
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on 26 July 2014
Sure it's well acted and a big budget but it's all wrong and a total insult to Eric's real story which is told in his book. If you want to know the truth about this remarkable story between these 2 men whom were once bitter enemies, then get the book (or audiobook) as the outcome is far more emotional than a movie can portray.
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on 6 June 2014
The Burma railway was also known as the "Death railway!". It was 258 Miles and stretched from Bangkok to Burma . It was constructed in 1943 by forced labour consisting of 180,000 Asian civilians,and 60,000 allied prisoners of war.Of these 90,000 Asian workers died and 12,399 Allied prisoners died.The line was closed in 1947 but partly re-opened in 1957.The majority of the dead allied soldiers were British,but there was also Dutch,Australians and Americans with 20 other from the commonwealth countries.
This is the story of one man's fight to regain inner peace and sanity after he returned home at the end of WW2.

During the harrowing scenes in the film,it shows "Hellfire Pass".This was a particularly difficult section of the line due to it being cut out of sheer rocks,all by hand.Sixty Nine men were beaten to death by the Japanese Guards and many more died from Cholera and Dysentery and starvation...

In the film our hero (Colin Firth) recognises a Major from British Forces.The Major sadly was in a shocking state and on the point of death by exhaustion.

It is pointless me going over the storyline as others have beaten me to it,however,Nicole Kidman played a stellar role as the new wife of the mentally broken Eric Lomax..It was she who helped him on the road to recovery,although for most of the film she was locked out of his mind.After Eric found out that the worst of the brutal Japanese Officers was still alive,he planned to kill him.Finally he made peace with the Officer,and indeed they then became the best of friends that carried them into their old age together.

A memorable film that puts into context the famous saying of "Lest we forget!"
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on 27 July 2014
This has been done before and much better. The direction is pedestrian and Colin Firth's performance wooden. The placement in time also seems very odd, the 1980s locale appearing much more like the 40s or 50s. The greatest pity is that some of the prison camp scenes are stilted and their background unconvincing, while the torture scenes become gratuitous. Overall, with such a scant plot, at almost two hours the movie is far too long.
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on 10 January 2016
Sporting a solid cast in the form of Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, I didn't really know much about this film before watching it, other than it's based on a true story. Telling the story of a WWII veteran who was captured by the Japanese, the movie is set in the 1980s, where we see Firth struggling with PTSD and increasingly unable to cope with the memory of his experiences - in his own words "I'm still at war". He discovers that one of his captors is still alive and sets out to confront him...

Told between the present and flashbacks to the time of his capture, the film gradually reveals what happened to him in the war, and even if it's a slow burner, I found myself gripped throughout the run-time. Firth is excellent as always, and Kidman - despite really being in the background for most of the movie - puts in an understated but strong performance.

The film has two completely different palettes, and the 1980s grey tone conveys Firth's state of mind perfectly; the POW scenes are harrowing in many ways, although not as much as I was expecting, perhaps because we've seen these type of things in many other films - I wonder if I'd seen this 15 years ago whether I would be more horrified?

Nevertheless, this is a great story told in a measured, matter-of-fact way. Even if I guessed how the movie would end it still had an emotional punch, and I'm not embarrassed to say that I was a bit choked as the end credits rolled.

Probably a watch once movie, but a good one all the same.

In terms of bluray, to be honest I didn't take much notice (testament of a good movie?) - but it was solid without being outstanding.

Film - 7.5/10
Video - 8/10
Audio - 7/10
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