Movie Review-War Horse

War Horse
A review by Christie H

The idea of showing a war through the eyes of a human interest story is not new. Countless films that pack an engrossing saga in the guise of an intimate narrative have captured the attention of moviegoers since the days of Gone with the Wind. Though the plot vehicle is not unique, War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s latest epic tale, is refreshing and riveting; a not so typical pull on the heartstrings yarn with a cute animal. Instead, we are treated to a gritty yet hopeful journey through the trenches of WWI on the heels of a spirited equine hero.

War Horse begins at a trot with a few too many scenes of the leading man looking wistfully off into the horse pasture but picks up the pace once the conflict is introduced-an Irish family struggling to keep their farm. When Ted Narracott (Peter Mullan) acquires a horse for his family, it falls to his son Albert (Jeremy Irvine) to train the finely bred animal to plow a rocky field. What follows is more interesting than it would sound to describe. The intricate camera work by Spielberg’s go to Janusz Kaminsky makes plow vision intriguing, and superb acting by Emily Watson as Albert’s mother carries the scene to its climax.

Quick as the storm that thwarts the Narracott’s fortunes, the story catapults into war mode—where it will stay for the rest of the film. This is where the film takes a quick turn from lighthearted to gut-wrenching, even graphic at times. The family friendliness of the movie is touted but not accurate. This is not a movie for children below middle school age because of the brutal reality of war. No detail is spared because this is a feel-good horse film. In fact, the horse itself isn’t spared from the atrocities of trench warfare.

War Horse is dazzling cinematically and in its storytelling power. This is not your average war or animal movie but a strangely fascinating blend of the two. Expect a cathartic journey through WWI Europe with the horse as a visual narrator and not some touchy-feely equine triumph and you’ll enjoy the ride.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. hymnia
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 02:38:03

    I want to see this movie! Great review!


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