Thursday, December 22, 2011

War Horse

The Horse Whisperer

A review embargo meant that this preview watched on 12 December can only be published now, and trust me it wasn't easy holding one's horses when a film that good, has to be kept mum about probably because the powers that be have absolutely no confidence with such a magnificent piece of filmmaking. Strange, but true, since embargoes are usually imposed on films that will clearly stink.

In any case, War Horse is Steven Spielberg's return to form. He's more than capable in making family oriented adventures that's befitting what epic, sweeping dramas are known for, and does that with War Horse, his finest filmmaking venture in recent years, what with trip ups such as the last Indiana Jones film which he squarely pointed the finger at George Lucas for its flimsy story. There's no lack of a powerful story here, based upon the children's novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo, which gives us a strong foundation in which to understand the friendship of thoroughbred stallion Joey and his owner Albert (Jeremy Irvine), before branching it off into four years worth of World War I.

Steven Spielberg may have had enough experience with making WWII stories from Saving Private Ryan to Schindler's List, and brings that knowledge to venture into his first WWI tale, where new advances in technology in the turn of the century brought about new horrors of war, and an imbalance if you may add with steel versus flesh in some ways, where calvaries meet with impending doom when up against new machine guns and tanks. And who can forget the horrors of trench and chemical warfare, things you'd read about in history books, now brought to the big screen, with Spielberg's knack of putting you in the thick of the action.

But this is not a film that deals with war action, but more about the episodes of humanity that Joey gets to experience along his remarkable journey to try and get back to the comforts of home and his owner. We journey with Joey through to both sides of the theatre of war in Europe, and get to meet various characters which the ensemble cast does its utmost best to provide depth to, rather than coming off as caricatures. These episodes are what makes War Horse unique and powerfully memorable, and one of my personal favourites involve the meeting of enemies in No Man's Land for a temporary truce in getting a joint objective fulfilled. That scene alone, is worth the admission ticket.

One cannot complain about Spielberg's chosen few in which to make this film with, boasting beautiful cinematography, a powerful score and everything else that make up the ingredients of a memorable epic. War Horse clearly gallops its way to end the year as a contender for being amongst the best 2011 had to offer. Definitely highly recommended!

You can read my review of War Horse at by clicking on the logo below.


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