TV REVIEWS : ‘Railway’ Veers Off Track


Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, in what should be an anticipated reunion in a rare television outing, are essentially victims of choppy, fuzzy movie-making in “The Railway Station Man” (premiering on TNT Sunday at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.).

Of course, it’s great to see Sutherland and Christie together again for the first time since their notorious love scene 20 years ago in Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now.” There’s steamy lovemaking in “The Railway Station Man,” too, but the movie’s two love scenes are obviously truncated and badly cut--like much of the rest of the production.

(For fans who may be curious to compare the stars then and now, TNT is running “Don’t Look Now” after “Railway Man” Sunday night at 11.)


A love story set on the bleak coast of Ireland, the movie’s singular reward is its depiction of the beautiful, foggy, damp Irish west coast, which reminds you of “Ryan’s Daughter”-country.

On these wind-swept slopes, Christie and Sutherland portray isolated characters trying to blot out the past who find rebirth and love against an ominous political background in present-day Ireland. But this adaptation by Shelagh Delaney from a critically acclaimed book by Jennifer Johnson is botched from the beginning.

The story is intended to be about a woman’s artistic and romantic liberation. But the Christie character’s unfulfilled life and her passionless marriage to an IRA shotgun victim in the introductory Londonderry scenes are not clearly dramatized at all, squandering the force of the woman’s flight southward and her subsequent romance with Sutherland’s war-maimed recluse.

As the mysterious title character with a prosthetic hand, Sutherland is weirdly robot-like when he’s not lovingly restoring an abandoned railway station that, charmingly, happens to have no tracks.