A German soldier tries to save his younger brother from fighting, even if by doing so he endangers himself. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox.
For War Horse, Steven Spielberg may not have directly referenced the medium itself, but make no mistake: There is no postmodern twist or hint of embarrassment on show, just a fulsome trust that these tried and true storytelling tropes are going to fly.
Much of the magic of the stage play comes from the astonishing puppetry used to bring the horses to life. This leads to a succession of small, potentially lethal crises that cumulatively strain credulity and risk parching the tear ducts. When war comes, it is Joey who is the moral aristocrat, as the officers become self-sacrificial heroes and the Tommies are turned into cannon fodder.
He stumbles around and slurs his words on occasion. What a Lovely War. But what wins out in the end, as the film draws to a close under a Gone With The Wind sky, is that Spielberg means every word of it. Yet it is not just in the performance.
Stay up to date on new reviews. Still, Spielberg has an uncanny knack for divining what audiences want and, in the uncertainty of recession, a simple story of fortitude in friendship filled with that most unfashionable of feelings — hope — might just resonate. A lot or a little?
During its combat, War Horse has a huge sweep: Both were movie versions of novels about lonely, lovable, innocent, working-class children passionately attached to animals in an idealised provincial England. The latter concludes with Joey falling into the hands of German masters to pull ambulance carts, haul heavy artillery and be briefly protected by two young German soldiers and by an elderly Frenchman and his year-old granddaughter.
But War Horse is a fable with a high moral purpose, not a documentary, and audiences will either be overwhelmed by the impact or find themselves fighting to resist it. He ends up tangled in barbed wire, jointly attended by a British soldier from Tyneside and a German from Hamburg, like something out of Oh!
The Poetry is in the pity. Spielberg may be channelling his heroes — John Ford, David Lean, Frank Capra, Victor Fleming, to name a few — but he is working within old-school traditions rather than merely aping them, bringing his own ballsy brio and cinematic intelligence to bear.
The two belong together, and Joey is committed not only to serving his country but to finding his beloved horse again. The narrator of the novel is Joey, a near-thoroughbred stallion reared on a West Country farm by the year-old Albert Narracott Jeremy Irvine.
Narracott drinks and seems to be known for being drunk on a regular basis. War Horse is bold, exquisite family filmmaking in the grandest Hollywood tradition. Despite being an earnest, sentimental horse drama, the war sequences show soldiers being killed in action and for desertion as well as a field of dead cavalry horses.
Without hitting you over the head with it, the film captures not only the wanton waste of war but also the tipping point between horseback warfare and mechanised conflict.
There are two brilliant cavalry charges, the first a rehearsal on Salisbury Plain, the second a scene of carnage on the Western Front. Steven Spielberg has been working in Britain off and on for 30 years now, long enough in fact to have been awarded an honorary knighthood. Three subplots focusing on families depict their own wartime tragedies, including a drunk father; a sick, orphaned granddaughter; and a soldier trying to save his underage brother from going to the front line.
Spielberg fillets the narrative through-line of the book — Morpurgo has Joey recount his adventures, Spielberg stops short of nag narration — and aligns it with the poignant intimacy of the play, but gives it an epic feel that is entirely big screen. Spielberg marshalls his equine cast expertly — the simultaneous reaction of a herd of horses as a four-legged comrade is put down is genius — charting a bizarrely affecting friendship between Joey and fellow military mare Topthorn.
The final odd minutes of the film are a virtual tsunami of emotional waves. If Tintin thrived on the thrill of Spielberg finding his voice in a new technology, War Horse sees the director returning to his storytelling roots, to the kind of films he lapped up at the Kiva Theater, Phoenix, during his youth.
But the heart of this story is the touching bond between Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who might be the bravest horse ever portrayed on film. The movie, scripted by Lee Hall, author of Billy Elliot, and Richard Curtis, our most internationally successful writer of film comedies, is a superficially realistic affair, a cross between the equine picaresque Black Beauty and All Quiet on the Western Front.
Also "hell," "damn," and "good lord" as an exclamation.War Horse is a highly emotive, undeniably sentimental film, but for those who have been raised on Spielberg's canon, this sentimentality is something to be relished and enjoyed. Full Review. Jan 04, · Read the Empire review of War Horse.
Find out everything you need to know about the film from the world's biggest movie destination.4/5. Dec 25, · War Horse movie reviews & Metacritic score: Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, War Horse begins with the r 72%(40).
Dec 23, · “War Horse,” set in World War I and directed by Steven Spielberg, pays tribute to a tradition of honest, emotionally direct storytelling. Movie Review | 'War Horse' Innocence Is Trampled. Dec 21, · The closing shots of Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" will stir emotions in every serious movie lover.
The sky is painted with a deeply red-orange sunset. A lone rider is seen far away on the horizon. The rider approaches and dismounts. He embraces a woman and a man. They all embrace the horse's head. Music swells. This footage, with the rich colors and dramatic framing on what is either a /5.
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