(M) Dreamworks DVD/BD
War Horse is a sweeping, heartfelt epic set against the backdrop of World War I that shows both the horror and humanity of war from a horse’s point of view.
When Ted Narracott (Peter Mullan) stubbornly outbids his landlord Lyons (David Thewlis) to acquire a beautiful young horse he can not afford, he angers his practical wife Rose (Emily Watson) but delights their son Albert (Jeremy Irvine) who bonds immediately with the horse, naming it “Joey”.
Albert trains Joey to help save their farm, but despite his triumph, money is still short and when the war comes, Ted sells the horse to young Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston).
The film begins to build momentum as the horse enters the war with Nicholls and Major Stewart (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Through a series of events ranging from touching to tragic; the horse finds itself under the care or cruelty of different masters from both sides of the war. Predictably, the horse is anthropomorphised and shown to be heroic, intelligent, and appears to experience fear, love and loss in the same way a human might.
The French and German characters speak English, which annoyed me, but this is understandably done to make War Horse more accessible to a larger audience. The violence is not too harsh and the themes are distressing rather than disturbing.
Director Steven Spielberg sums up War Horse as a film about connection. There are some powerful emotional moments; however, the film feels contrived in parts as well as predictable.
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