Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is the story of a boy and his horse ... well, really it’s much, much more. It’s the start of WWI in England, and horses are being conscripted into the army.
|Albert and his parents are at odds about the thoroughbred (Joey) |
that dad foolishly bought instead of the plowhorse he needed.
Young Albert, who has raised the spirited horse named Joey, must part with him for the cause. The young officer promises he will do his best to bring Joey home to Albert. Sadly, that partnership is cut short and the horse begins an odyssey across the front lines, from German to France to No Man’s Land.
Joey is used by Brits and Germans, friends and foes. He is worked beyond most horse’s capabilities. But beautiful Joey is strong and special and touches many lives.
Meanwhile, Albert is finally able to join the Army in his quest to find his horse. Sound melodramatic? It might have been but for the deft hand of Spielberg, who elevates it to a thing of beauty. From the natural beauty of the English countryside to the terrible beauty of battlefields, he brings World War I to life just as he did WWII in Saving Private Ryan.
The war scenes are difficult to watch, but necessary to this story. At two and a half hours, it is long, but not overly long. Newcomer Jeremy Irvine, along with Emily Watson and Peter Mullan and the rest of the impressive cast, are spot on in their roles.
Put this in the category of movies like Seabiscuit, National Velvet, Secretariat, Marley & Me, Lassie … stories of heart, and loyalty, triumph over sometimes enormous odds. I liked this movie a lot and was especially moved by the tragic scenes of war.
Three and a half reels (out of four)