War is no game. War leaves a mark. Eric Lomax, like many other surviving soldiers, lived haunted by his war memories all his life through, as if war never actually ended in his mind and his heart. The Railway Man, based on Lomax’s autobiography, came out in September 2014 here in Italy as “Le due vie del destino”, but it had opened theatrically on New Year’s Day in the UK and, in the US, in April 2014.
Eric Lomax (30 May 1919 - 8 October 2012) was one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. Fate wanted he, a train and railway enthusiast, to be part of the army of enslaved prisoners the Japanese employed for their ambitious plan. His experiences, after the secret radio he built to bring news and hope to his mates was discovered, the inhuman tortures he was subjected to, and which left him traumatised and shut off from the world, are the main interest of this movie. Water-boarding and savage beating didn’t make Lomax surrender or lose his will to live. Years later, with his life still affected by that huge amount of suffering and consequent hatred, he met Patti (Nicole Kidman), a beautiful woman, on a train and fell in love. Once they get married and Patti becomes acquainted with Eric’s nightmares and terrifyingly weird moments, she is determined to rid him of his demons.
One day they discover that the young Japanese officer who tortured him is still alive and Eric decides that it is time to meet him again.