Sunday, August 19, 2012

WAR HORSE

Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson


"Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship"


The main draw of this very long film about a horse is its esteemed director Steven Spielberg. Plus a haunting musical score by *the* John Williams and amazingly breathtaking cinematography, add them all and you get a masterfully crafted World War I tale about perseverance and triumphs that will tug at your heartstrings.


The story follows a thoroughbred through various owners and situations amidst the backdrop of the first World War. On a whim, a farmer buys a young colt instead of a work horse to till his farm. His son Albert (Jeremy Irvine) names the horse, Joey and painstakingly trains him as a farm horse. But Germany invades England so Joey is sold to the British troops. Much to the chagrin of Albie who is heartbroken but also quite determined that they will be reunited after the war. After significant battles, Joey makes his way across the European countryside as he is passed on to different 'owners' throughout the duration of the war.


I'd have to warn you that the film is overtly melodramatic and frankly sentimental. It is amazing how much you find yourself invested in the journey of a horse. How you wince every time Joey was treated badly. For instance, when he was used to pull the heavy artillery for the German army. Or how Joey got entangled in the barbed wire as he tried to escape from the tank amidst the barrage of gun fires. This cringe worthy moment leads to a vital scene where both sides (the English and the Germans) called a truce to aid in rescuing Joey from the tangled mess.


Although it heavily features the theme of war and drama, it is also an intimate narrative about a young guy and his deep affinity with a horse. Even though there were instances when Spielberg would overload on the dramatic moments, it was still quite a poignant, soulful movie to view.


Its cinematography was top notch. It featured wide aerial shots of rural England with its lust green fields, along with deep, vibrant hues of orange skies as well as bleak dark tones of the battlefields. "War Horse" is one of the most visually stunning film I've seen in the longest time.


A deeply inspiring film that had some dragging moments, it plowed on for almost 2 and a half hours and concludes with a pretty predictable ending fraught with emotions.

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