The Railway Man, Basic Instinct, Gold: films on TV today

PoW chills for Colin Firth, erotic thrills for Michael Douglas and goldmining spills for Roger Moore: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY
The Railway Man  ★★★

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9.00-11.15pm Film4
 
American critics thought this story, based on fact, about a British army officer’s torture, suffering and later attempt to face his demons was too “understated”. Understatement, like irony, is something Americans don’t understand but this time they were right. The film is understated and all the better for it. It’s the story, told partly in flashback, of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth on fine form), who was captured by the Japanese in 1942, forced to work on the notorious Burma Railway and so savagely tortured that he is haunted by the memories for decades. In middle age he meets and marries Nicole Kidman. They’re happy enough but he is still plagued by depression and nightmares until he learns that his chief tormentor (Tanroh Ishida) is still alive, and determines to confront him and try finally to end the bitterness and hatred he feels. It’s a well-told tale that shuns gung-ho heroics and builds up to a moving and perhaps unexpected denouement.


Gold  ★★★


2.00-4.30pm Spike
 
A British disaster movie shot against a backdrop of political aggro in apartheid-era South Africa and starring Roger Moore as the only man fighting to stop the impending collapse of a gold mine.     
 


Yanks  ★★★ 


6.15-9.00pm Movie Mix
 
John Schlesinger’s nostalgic paean to the “overpaid, oversexed and over here” GIs who arrived in wartime Britain, to find a warm welcome, in some quarters at least. Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave head a distinguished ensemble cast.    


Age of Heroes  ★★★ 


10.50pm-12.40am Movies4Men
 
This tale of wartime derring-do is given a bit of extra zip when you discover that it’s based on the real-life exploits of 007 creator Ian Fleming. James D’Arcy plays Fleming, who sets Sean Bean and Danny Dyer off on a sabotage mission in Norway.     


Basic Instinct  ★★★ 


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11.15pm-1.50am Film4
 
This unrestrained erotic thriller, famous for the interrogation-room leg-crossing scene, turned Sharon Stone – as the ultra-seductive predatory novelist – into a 1990s sex symbol.    
 


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