During WWII, just after the fall of Singapore, a group of British soldiers were captured and transported as POW’s to work on the infamous Thai/Burma railway. The conditions and treatment of these men was notoriously cruel and inhumane and those who survived and returned home were never the same. To make matters worse, this generation of men were of the ‘stiff upper lip’ variety and so they rarely spoke of their experiences during the war. All the horrors they were subjected to and saw were kept tightly shut away as they tried to reclaim their former lives.
The Railway Man is based on the true story of English soldier Eric Lomax (Firth) who, with the help of some fellow POW’s, managed to build a radio which enabled them to receive news of the war. When the radio was found by their Japanese captors, Lomax, in an act of supreme sacrifice and mateship, stepped forward to take responsibility. For this ‘crime’, he was taken away for over 2 weeks and subjected to the most horrific of tortures.