The Railway Man is based on the 1995 memoir of Eric Lomax. A British Army officer, he was kept as a prisoner of war by the Japanese during the second world war, and forced to help build the Burma-Siam Railway. The memoir, which includes accounts of Lomax being brutally tortured by the Japanese army, won two literary prizes, and was made into a docudrama called Prisoners in Time.
Directed by Australian Jonathan Teplitzky, the movie reveals those horrific scenes of torture as the young Eric (Jeremy Irvin) experiences them, and then by showing the psychological aftermaths experienced by the older man (Colin Firth).
For decades, Eric hides his trauma from the public, but his wife Patricia Wallace (Nicole Kidman) sees the emotional toll deep inside him; he has recurring nightmares, and sometimes turns distant and angry whenever bad memories take over. Patricia is determined to "interfere" by helping him talk about his experiences.
The twist comes when Eric learns that his tormentor is still alive.
Eric finds him, and his decisions as to what to do with that knowledge set the moral of the story. Perhaps Eric says it best: "Sometimes, the hating needs to stop."