Steven Spielberg sheds light on the first World War through different stories all built around the amazing story of one horse and his owner. My review of War Horse.
While some might look for Spielberg to take on World War I similar to what he has done with World War II in Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, he actually strays from that and gives us a very touching tale focused on a boy and a horse. The main characters are Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey. Joey was purchased by Albert’s dad in a bidding war that led to his family getting on more debt. The only chance for the family came in the hands of young Albert and the young and untamed horse. This story technically is the main story but it takes a backseat to the real ride of the movie after the first 30-45 minutes. Once war breaks out in Europe, Albert’s father Ted (Peter Mullan) has no choice but to sell Joey to the army. Albert is incredibly torn when he finds out he has to give his horse up but luckily for him Joey catches the eye of Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) who promises to take Joey for himself so that he can watch over and care for him. Albert agrees and the horse’s journey through the Great War begins. I don’t want to spoil the stories for you because they are truly fantastic to watch but you get a glimpse into the eyes of each party involved in the war with a German story, French story, and British story all put in the thrilling story of the War Horse. While this movie really does not have a stand out acting performance its greatness mainly stems from the outstanding directing job of Steven Spielberg and the work of the cinematography team. The film is beautiful to watch and the shots of Europe with a John Williams score behind it is just mesmerizing in itself. Williams does a fantastic job with the score as he just lulls you into what you are watching, making you almost forget anything else. As I said earlier its tough to distinguish one performance as outstanding in this movie with some many fantastic British thespians giving their talents to the ensemble which is woven masterfully. The true hero of the movie lies in its “lead” which is the horse. He keeps you very interested without having to say a word and can keep you on the edge of you seat at times. His placement in the stories told throughout the film is sometimes substantial but sometimes he just plays a background piece to the drama taking place. Award season should have War Horse all over it as it has already garnered nominations for Best Picture at the Golden Globes. In conclusion, Steven Spielberg strikes gold again with a touching drama that doesn’t give you the grit of war but rather the in between of what was taking place at this point in history through the eyes of a innocent bystander, a horse. It is one of the year’s best and a classic Spielberg film.