There were few films in 2011 that moved me as much as War Horse, it’s a truly remarkable film about friendship and love during epic journey. The film is based off a novel that became a 2011 Tony award-winning Broadway play, and though I haven’t seen the play (still not entirely sure how a story of this magnitude… and with such a unique main character translates to the stage) – it’s definitely on my must-see list now!
On a rural England farm, a father brings home a horse that he’s paid entirely too much for. Despite the disapproval he receives from his wife, his son Albert (Jeremy Irvine) instantly takes to the beautiful creature naming him Joey. As time passes, Joey turns into exactly the animal they needed on the farm thanks to Albert’s diligent training, but when World War I starts in 1914, Albert’s father sells Joey to the cavalry. Heartbroken, Albert says goodbye to Joey, and thus Joey’s journey begins as he enters the war.
The film is really about Joey’s journey through the war and the lives that he touches along the way. What I really loved was how the people that encountered Joey felt compelled to keep him save and help him. Whether it was a German solider or an English one or a little girl and her grandfather in the countryside… most everyone had Joey’s best interest at heart. Despite man’s differences with one another in World War I, their love for animals was not one of them.
There’s no big name actors in War Horse, despite it being a Steven Spielberg film. This doesn’t mean that the cast doesn’t do a fantastic job though, newcomer Jeremy Irvine did a fantastic job as Albert Norcross – Joey’s young trainer. He’s fresh face and does a great job at conveying emotion even in scenes where he’s silent. That being said, the true star of this film is the horse that plays Joey. A truly magnificent creature.
Another area of the film that is truly amazing is the cinematography. This is one of Spielberg’s most beautiful films to date. Between the stunning country sides to the dramatic sunsets, every scene could be frozen and turned into a work of art. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski is a long time collaborator of Spielberg’s (He’s done every film with Spielberg since Schindler’s List), and between his visuals and John Williams’ brilliant score – you can’t help but transported back to the 1910’s and engulfed in all the emotion of the film.
If you’re worried this film will make you cry buckets, do expect to get choked up a bit – but when all is said and done, this film will leave you with a smile on your face and a warming feeling in your heart. It’s one of the best films of 2011 without question, and definitely one of the most uplifting and epic movies we’ve seen in awhile.
Review By: Emma Loggins
Official Site: http://www.warhorsemovie.com/