Review: War Horse – Be thankful for his white socks

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I realise this film review is a little out of date but I recently watched War Horse and thought I would review it anyway.

Having turned my nose up at the prospect of going to watch it in the cinema, I was pleasantly surprised when I was forced to watch it with my family. Not being a huge horse fan, or a lover of animals for that matter, I did not think I would enjoy a film about a horse and the war. I was very mistaken. I also liked the fact that part of the film had been filmed in Dartmoor (Devon) which is very close to where I live.

Director Steven Spielberg somehow managed to grip my attention from beginning to end with his adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel. I know this was the case because I didn’t fall asleep in my extremely tired state. Spielberg described it as his first truly British film. He can say that again.

As you can imagine from the clues in the title, the film follows the life of a horse named Joey. It documents Joey’s life throughout the war by detailing his path from pillar to post coming close to death in no mans land.

It also concentrates on a young adult named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) who decides to enlist to serve in World War I after his closest companion and beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Hoping to be reunited with his favorite horse. A hope that is surely only but a dream?

War Horse is also so much more. It’s brilliantly staged scenes kick off by unraveling a growing trust between a man and an animal. As a team they surprisingly managed to plough a field. This marvelous sequence is what grips you and stays with you throughout the rest of the film.

Jeremy plays a convincing son of a domineering, alcoholic man. Slightly shunned and shy due to constant put downs from his father. Growing in confidence once he finds friendship in the horse Joey and ultimately battles the horrors of the war whilst nursing his loss.

Previously being celebrated in the theatre’s I couldn’t help but notice the slight theoretical acting with elongated pauses at the end of a hearty speech. There also seemed to be a few, unusually placed, low camera angles which made me imagine I was actually seated in a seat with my head below the stage.

Both man and animal seem to withstand numerous trails and tribulations which pull at your heartstrings. All you want to happen if for the duo to be reunited fit and well. It truly is like a very weird and warped love story. The canter through the battlefield that Joey takes on is remarkably well edited.

Without giving too much away for those who have not watched it…come the end of the film you really do feel yourself let out that held in breath slowly. All I can say is…Thank god for those white socks.

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