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Saturday, 14 January 2012

War Horse

Dir: Steven Spielberg

5/5 - Brilliant

Steven Spielberg’s latest creation War Horse has finally hit U.K. cinemas, and I for one was very excited to see the adaptation brought to the silver screen. Although I had never seen the original stage production, I can see why it generated such a large amount of praise from those who had seen it, as Spielberg’s take is just sublime in every detail. The story tells of the young thoroughbred horse Joey and his life throughout World War one, the journeys that he undergoes from Devon into France and the terror that he comes across during the brutal and terrifying European conflict. It is such a simple story, however placing it within the War makes it all the more dramatic, it’s like Black Beauty meets Saving Private Ryan. The film just oozes brilliance.

Many will say that Jeremy Irvine who plays Albert Narracott is the main character, but the true hero of the story if Joey himself, and for a character who is (let’s face it) a horse that doesn’t speak, he is one of the film’s most endearing characters. The film really displays the genius that is Spielberg, and the way in which he moves the audience and enables them to feel the emotions of a horse is just unbelievable and true cinematic splendour. Spielberg presents the tragedy of war from both perspectives from Joey’s experience, enabling the audience to see the true experience of loss and failure from the allies and the Germans, as well as the shared human emotions of caring and survival. Collaborator John Williams provides a score that is touching, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time, providing the film with a real backbone, making it all the more epic and grand in scale. I thought that the film was just beautiful, and the emotive relationship between Joey and Albert, the separation, and the final reunion through the brutal European conflict was just powerful cinema. I would warn you to take tissues as only the coldest of hearts will not be touched in some way, and I am not going to lie but I almost broke down when watching this film.

There are too many brilliant moments in this film for me to begin to describe them all, both showing Joey’s determination to survive as long as he can and the humans attempt to escape the brutality of the war. There are a few great moments where, as I mentioned before, the true nature of humanities caring nature is unveiled, especially the scene in no-man’s-land when Joey is assisted by both a German and a British soldier. The cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, David Thewlis and Tom Hiddleston to name a few is on fine form and, despite each having a brief appearance, really add to the spectacle and wonder that is War Horse. I could go on and on about this film all day for how brilliant it was, yes there were some slushy moments in the film, but they all added to an absolute masterpiece that I can say is one of my favourite Spielberg films to date. 

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