Film Review: War Horse

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Brought from the stage to the screen, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is the touching tale of the unbreakable friendship between a boy and his horse.

Set during WWI, the film takes us from Devon to the battlefields of France, telling the story of the bond between Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) and Joey, his remarkable horse.

After being sold to the British cavalry by Albert’s father, Ted (Peter Mullan), we follow Joey’s journey through the battlefields of Europe.

Cinematically there is much going for this film. Visually, it displays the gorgeous landscapes of the Devon countryside, and there is a surprising hauntingly beautiful shot of the battlefields ‘no mans land’.

The score, nominated for a Golden Globe, works perfectly with the emotion of the film, lifting and pulling you down, as the film moves through its moments of triumph and despair.

However, it is the bonds of friendship that exist between man and beast, and between the war horses themselves, that captures the audience.

This is epitomised in the scene where Joey is sold to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston). Upon realising he has no chance of saving his horse from the war, Albert promises to Joey, “Where-ever you are, I will find you. I will bring you home.”

As we see tears falling down Albert’s face it is impossible for the audience not to share his emotion. I for one was unable to escape the lump in my throat or wetness around my eyes.

If there is one critique of this film it is that it drags a little in the middle. In a section where neither Joey nor Albert predominates the film slows.

Regardless, the desire to discover whether Albert and Joey make it through the war, and are reunited, pulls the audience through to the very end.

‘War Horse’ is currently screening in cinemas.

Originally published on The Bowler  Hat.

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