TME Hollywood Reviews : War Horse

Posted: December 20, 2011 by tmepost in Movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

BY David Burrola

Genre: War Drama

Director: Steven Spielberg

Release: Dec 25 2011

Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleson

A young man raises a thorough bred horse to save his farm then has it taken away from him to fight in WWI. Through many other owners and stories, the two fight to be reunited.

War Horse is on one hand one of those more cheesy premises, a boy and his horse get separated and you follow as the horse goes through many trials and trepidations to finally be reunited with his original owner. Its the kind of thing that can easily be a made for TV movie that’s so cheesy and stupid, but in the hands of Steven Spielberg, its a damn tear jerker and masterfully handles many sequential smaller stories that revolve around one horse. Yeah, we follow the horse most throughout the film, but it never truly gets boring or over done.

We begin with the horse’s birth as young Albert(Jeremy Irvine) watches on. Later, he tries to befriend the horse, and later after his father buys him in a auction bid, the horse is now theirs. Albert then goes to raise the horse and is shown that he’s quite good at it, and comes close to him as if he were more a friend that pet. As the eve of war draws on, the father sells the horse to a military officer played by Tom Hiddleson and the two are separated.

From here the film goes from small story to story of how the horse, lovingly named Joey by Albert, travels and survives through the war and various different owners whom all see something spectacular in him. Its also telling that Joey shows that he’s quite capable of surviving and working through some of the hardest situations he’s put in. Yes, we follow Joey through thick and thin and all in between.

Spielberg masterfully shoots the film so that we always are following Joey and he becomes a character and personality all his own just as any of the other actors in the film. All without giving him some kind of inner thought or any kind of narration throughout the film. Every single shot counts to tell this longer story and is paced so well, you will remember all the characters that are shown. Instead of being shown a larger cast that travel around and begin to be fleshed out a bit from interactions or just shown to be a pure personality we can empathize with before they’re gone, this goes from one small group to another as we follow Joey’s experiences and how he overcomes them, either by his own doings or by pure coincidence. Though really its mostly through incredibly compassionate people who recognize right and wrong even in war. That’s a very strong, if not total theme of the film. How good can shine through the most despicable or terrible circumstances.

As we are watching a story focused on an animal more of the drama is about us not wanting him to be hurt at all, since we for some reason feel more empathy for the animals in these cases than the people(that’s probably because of Disney). So when things bad happen to Joey, you really begin to feel for him, and when something good comes his way, you’re really happy.

This is just the kind of movie to see during the holidays and one to watch with the older folks in the family. Some of the war elements may not be for kids, and might even scare them, but for everyone else, its definitely worth watching, and one to see. I give it an evening show, and thankfully there’s none of that 3D stuff for you to worry about with this one.

Happy holidays!



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