After seeing the Oscars I figured it was about time to start watching the nominees, regardless of whether or not they won. Somewhat hesitant of “War Horse” seeing how Spielberg’s last couple films haven’t been groundbreaking, I decided to give it a shot.
Films about WWI will definitely always be overshadowed by those about WWII or the Civil War. In fact I don’t really remember learning much about it during all of my history classes beyond “These people did some bad things to people so there was a war later called World War One so that World War Two could have a prequel.” Needless to say Spielberg does a great job immersing us in both pre and during wartimes, with sets expanding from luscious English countryside to crater-ridden trenches. In a movie where the protagonist isn’t going to say too much everything else becomes that much more important. Enough about the design, onto the horse.
It’s hard to figure out exactly who we’re following through the film as it opens on both Joey the horse, and his owner Albert. Played splendidly by Jeremy Irvine, Albert and his father purchase Joey pretty much based on his looks. Classic tale of boy falls in love with pet, pet gets sold to the military, changes hands as owners come and go (read: die), and Albert joins the army to stand up for King and Country and possibly to find his horse. Without giving away the ending or more of the progression of this two-hour drama, it’s a good film and almost doesn’t feel like Spielberg, but not in a bad way. So while you won’t learn a whole lot of history here, you’ll see a large amount of great acting by lesser known actors, and a pretty heartwarming story overall.
DIRECTOR’S CUT: Every once in awhile a film comes along that makes you want to smile, doff your hat, and walk off into the sunset by the end. This is one of those films.