|Photo via IMDb|
However, leaving out the subject matter, the movie is flawed in that the cuts to flashbacks are sometimes jarring, and certain plot and character elements are left so vague that the viewer is confused. These elements could have been stronger if handled differently. But, that also has nothing to do with the outstanding and nuanced performances. Firth is able, even with the problems I felt existed in the movie, to show from the beginning Lomax's humanity and strength, his deep wounds and yearning for love and healing. Kidman gives a strong, subtle performance as Lomax's wife, Patti. But personally, I felt most riveted by Stellan Skarsgard as Finlay, Sam Reid as young Finlay, Jeremy Irvine as young Eric, and Tanroh Isida and Hiroyuki Sanada as young and old Takeshi Nagase. This is really an ensemble cast, with each actor turning in moving, quietly engaging and sympathetic performances. Because of this, and the message of reconciliation and forgiveness, I recommend it (but be aware that the images of torture and the grim turns may stay with you).
On a lighter note, Skarsgard and Firth also share the screen in both Mamma Mia! movies, and they seem to have a great rapport. And, I recently saw Sam Reid in an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple, "Greenshaw's Folly," in which he costars with Julia Sawalha, who plays Lydia in Pride and Prejudice (1995). I like finding those Jane Austen connections. :)