This weekend I saw the last Oscar-nominated film that I had not seen yet – American Hustle. And that’s where it ended up in my list.
Although it was entertaining and I loved Jennifer Lawrence -what’s not to love there? -the movie was a typical “sting-going-bad” movie in the same category as movies like Oceans Eleven ( or twelve, or thirteen or…) I did enjoy the 80’s music and resolved to get out my turntable and some old LP’s this week. I thought I should look up the soundtrack when I got home in iTunes but also realized that somewhere in my collection of LP’s and 45’s and CD’s I likely have all the tracks that were on the movie. It would work just as well as a Saturday night rental as on the big screen.
My favorite movie last year was Dallas Buyers Club. It didn’t have the epic and guilt-ridden theme of 12 Years A Slave or the glitzy technology of Gravity but I liked the performances, the story and the presentation. It is the only film in the Best Picture category that I have seen twice and would happily see again. I also really enjoyed Philomena and Nebraska but both of these were too understated to win votes. But good entertainment, nonetheless.
As I looked at the films on the Best Picture list, I wondered where The Railway Man disappeared to. I saw this film at TIFF in September last year and it had many of the elements of 12 Years without the Americana. It turns out that the film has not been released yet but will appear in theatres in North America in April. If you liked 12 Years, you will like this one too. It has many of the same elements. Part of the movie is set in a prisoner of war camp forced into hard labour (and torture) to construct the Thai-Burma railway in during the Second World War. The story, like so many in movies this year, is based on a true one and at TIFF the real Patti Lomax, who was played in the movie by Nicole Kidman, attended the Q&A along with Colin Firth who plays her husband, Eric.
The story is well told, with some spectacular scenery shot on location at the site if the real railway in Burma. In the movie, as in real life I surmise, Lomax suffers from PTSD after his war endurances and eventually has to decide how to deal with his past by returning. No spoilers. See the movie.