BY KATHERINE MONK, POSTMEDIA NEWS MAY 1, 2014
Tanroh Ishida, left, and Colin Firth in The Railway Man. Firth brings endless pathos to the part of a broken man looking for some sense of redemption and closure.
Photograph by: Jaap Buitendijk
Firth brings endless pathos to the part of a broken man looking for some sense of redemption and closure. His tall frame sags with the weight of human morality while his deep brown eyes stare back at the camera, silently whimpering our frailty.
It’s a truly masterful piece of acting that transcends Teplitzky’s store-bought framing, but it’s Kidman who delivers the biggest surprise: For the first time since her eyebrows turned into solid marble arches, the Australian Oscar winner who once shared a life with Tom Cruise is truly terrific.
Kidman’s physical liabilities have been masked by a smart hairstylist who gave her sweeping auburn bangs that let us read her eyes without feeling creeped-out by the frozen brows, and it makes a huge difference just in terms of empathy. She looks human.
Coupled with some dowdy clothes and a keen ear for accents, Kidman is a very believable middle-aged survivor who will not surrender to melodrama or abandonment. Her strength and her conviction in Eric’s ability to overcome his own pain give this otherwise meandering story a linear narrative arc that pulls a freight train of history into the station — a little late, and a little dusty, but shuttering with a sense of vented purpose.
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