How does a film based on celebrated material, that happens to be a true story, and stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, manage to not be a sure-fire Oscar bet? So far that seems to be the case with The Railway Man, which recently played at TIFF and has been met with a "ho-hum" response. While it still has yet to gain a U.S. release date, Lionsgate may be looking to drum up buzz by releasing a new trailer, clearly aimed at the prestige audience.
Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and based on the memoir by Eric Lomax, Firth stars as the British soldier captured by the Japanese during WWII and sent to a POW camp in Singapore. There he is tortured mercilessly and forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway, made famous in the film The Bridge On the River Kwai. Kidman plays his wife, who tries to help her husband overcome his past trauma, while Jeremy Irvine is the younger version of Lomax and Stellan Skarsgard is a fellow prisoner and Lomax's friend. Look close and you'll also see The Wolverine star Hiroyuki Sanada as the captor responsible for much of Lomax's grief.
While the footage does give the impression of a sweeping historical drama with beautiful scenery and some fine acting by all involved, especially Firth as the emotionally-crippled Lomax, it's also overbearing in a way that screams "please nominate us for something!". The Railway Man opens in Australia this December, and we'll see if this trailer drums up any stateside interest.