Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Thewlis
Running Time: 146 mins
DVD Release Date: 7th May 2012
After directing some dinosaurs around a set Steven Spielberg must have found directing horses a doddle. At least it seems so judging by the ultimate beauty of War Horse. The film begins with the heart-warming friendship between Joey the horse and the young man who trains him; Albert (Irvine). When the two are forcefully parted we then follow Joey as he is used for various means in World War I, all the while inspiring and being adored by almost everyone he meets. The beautiful thorough-bred from Devon warms the hearts of the British cavalry, German Soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter… not to mention the audience. We are then taken to the climax of the film in the heart of No Man’s Land where Joey’s influence hits its peak.
War Horse is not just a film for horse lovers or, er, war lovers, but one that so many different people can enjoy and most likely shed a few of those precious tears at. It truly is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, story of friendship during war and shows how an animal, yes an animal, can truly touch the hearts of those around it. The film gives an ambiguous view of the war and its beauty is drawn from showing that no matter whether you’re German, French, or English, love can unite all.
But enough of the soppy stuff. War Horse was adapted from a triumphant book by Michael Morpurgo and turned into successful stage productions for both London’s National Theatre and now Broadway. Spielberg was most definitely the man to bring this inspiring story to the screen because he succeeds where others fail by focussing on the love, not the hate, in war. War Horse couldn’t have been cast any better as Irvine delivers one of the most genuine, endearing performances seen in a long time and Tom Hiddleston brings a sincere character to life. The talent doesn’t stop there however as Celine Buckens, who plays Emilie the French farmers granddaughter, delivers a sweet yet commanding first role, and of course there is Joey (well, all fourteen horses that played him) who brings the biggest impact of all.
Words cannot describe how amazed I was at how forceful the impact of War Horse truly is. Expecting…. well, not quite knowing what to expect, I settled in for a long ride and soon found my face as wet as a sink and my heart as wrenched as a stubborn nut. Although the film didn’t win any of the 6 Academy Awards it was nominated for, it really does mark a high point of Spielberg’s career and also an amazing journey for the audience.
Heart-warming, heart-wrenching, heart-uniting; War Horse is a film everyone has to see so dust off your saddles, get on your horses, ride into town and pick up your copy today.
You would not regret spending the few extra squid to get this film on Blu-Ray. The Devon scenery is breath-taking as are the use of greens and browns to highlight the changing emotions of the films and Blu-Ray serves to make the detail to this truly astounding.
You will also be treated to some worthy extras such as ‘War Horse: The Journey Home’ where you can follow every bit of Joey’s and Albert’s adventure, and ‘An Extra’s Point of View’ where you can get the low-down on how everything was put together. If you have seen the film you will understand how incredible this is, if you haven’t then all you need to do is listen to the thousand of praising critics and fans alike.