WHEN we first meet ardent train enthusiast Eric Lomax (Colin Firth) he is safely ensconced in a first class carriage, casting nervous glances at the lady sitting opposite.

Eventually he strikes up a conversation with Patricia Wallace (Nicole Kidman) and learns she is visiting the north of England based on recommendations from a friend.

“With all due respect to your friend, if all he has mentioned is vodka he’s only scratched the surface of Warrington,” Eric blusters sweetly.

He engineers another meeting with Patti further up the line, and they fall in love and marry.

It quickly becomes clear to Patti that there is something in Eric’s past which is troubling him, but her efforts to help are swatted aside.

“You’ll never again attempt to discuss matters which don’t concern you. There’s no objection, I hope?” Eric firmly tells his wife.

So she seeks out best friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard), hoping he can reveal the scars of the past and ease her spouse’s suffering.

“A lot of men went through something you can’t even begin to imagine,” Finlay tells her.

Ultimately, he recounts to Patti, and us, the wartime horrors faced by young Eric (Jeremy Irvine) and fellow soldiers at the hands of the Japanese at the Sakamoto Butai camp in Thailand…