War Horse (aka Warhorse) review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Stephen Spielberg’s vision of the novel and long running play by Michael Morpurgo boasts an impressive cast list that includes Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Thewlis and Jeremy Irvine. It tells the story of Albert a young man who enlists during the First World War after his beloved horse Joey is sold into the Cavalry.
For anyone with a soft spot for animals the trailers for War Horse were enough to set you on edge, prepare not to be disappointed, this is a desperately sad and fantastically moving story of bravery, loyalty and companionship. I will not hide the fact that I cried like a baby.
Fear not however, this doesn’t necessarily give the ending away, War Horse is not a tragedy, the ending in fact is massively uplifting and dramatic, seeming to me hugely evocative of the Western’s of prolific director John Ford and his kind of produced movies in which the ache of loss, horror of war and joy of reconciliation are epitomized in the beautiful and iconic long shots as a lone rider returns home from his journey.
Beyond this the movie is a series of brilliantly composed action sequences in which both man and beast battle and die. The movie spares no one, as war itself does not either, and it openly portrays death and violence in a graphic yet understated fashion: this is not violence for the sake of it, but rather an honest depiction of the waste of war.
Couple these visual traits with a handful of intimate and expressive performances and a heart wrenching bond between a boy and his horse and Spielberg has once again delivered a meaningful and astonishing movie.