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A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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A Horse and His Boy

  • Jan 19, 2012
In Dartmoor, England a teenage boy named Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine), watches in fascination as a thoroughbred colt is born. The baby horse is a beautiful animal and watching the equine run through the fields soon becomes Albert's new hobby. The day comes when the horse is taken to auction. Albert's father, Ted (Peter Mullan) comes to market to buy a plow horse, but when he sees the magnificent beast and spots his landlord smirking on the other side of the fence he ends up paying a small fortune to purchase the animal. Albert names the horse Joey and sets to training the animal. When the landlord threatens to take the family farm, Albert trains the animal to wear a horse collar and plow a field. However, when a destructive storm ruins the family's turnip crop, Ted is forced to sell the horse to the British cavalry for the war that has just been declared (1914). The animal is purchased by Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) who promises Albert that Joey will be his personal mount and he will return the horse to him after the war. It's off to France and after a foolish offensive Joey loses his mount and is captured by the Germans. What follows is an extraordinary journey for Joey as he changes hands from one owner to the next. The horse has a remarkable spirit of determination and raises to every challenge that comes before it. Meanwhile, Albert has joined the Army and is fighting on the Western front and carries with him an illustration of Joey. He's convinced they will find each other again.

WAR HORSE is an impressive movie. Visually, the film is a cinematic kaleidoscope of stunning wonder. It's like watching a Terrence Malick film, but with an actual story and lots of action.

The main character in the story is Joey, so if you don't like horses, you might not like the film. However, the human actors all do a fine job. Some of them are only on screen for a few minutes in a couple of scenes, but each of them excellently portrays the emotional depth of their characters. There are some who might say that the movie is filled with characterizations and no real acting, but this isn't the case. Most of the acting in the movie isn't done in broad gestures and over articulation. Instead, the real acting happens in the small moments: the way the eyes light up, the gentle turn of the head, etc. For instance, there is a scene where a German regiment invades a small farm and takes everything away from the farmer and his granddaughter who live there. There really isn't much action that happens in this scene and there aren't many words. However, volumes are spoken between the characters in how they say things and in the little things they do. WAR HORSE is filled with scenes like that.

Even if you aren't a horse or animal person, you can take a lot away from WAR HORSE. Though a horse is the main and title character, the movie is really about hope, perseverance, and determination. It is a story about the deep friendship between two kindred spirits. It's an ancient story that's been told again and again throughout history (the Biblical story of Joseph, ODYSSEY, THE AENIED, E.T., etc.). It's a story that resonates because it touches something deep within each of us. It's a grand old story, but in WAR HORSE it's just told through the eyes of a horse and his boy.

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More War Horse (2011 film) reviews
review by . September 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A long faced look at war
More recently as Steven Spielberg has become a more active producer, his directing credits are becoming less common.      In 2011 he produced the brillant Super 8, one of my favorites, directed by JJ Abrams, the creator, writer and occasional director of Lost, and the recent Star trek. Super 8 is a great nostalgia piece evoking the early eighties, a movie within a movie, and an homage to Spielberg's earliest movies. Spielberg also produced Cowboys and Aliens, a somewhat weird …
review by . June 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    Allow me, for a moment, to establish a few of my reviewer biases that I might not have already established in the past. What I like in a movie is entertainment, however it may be delivered; be it through a thought-provoking story, strong central characters, or a satisfying visual style. What I dislike is familiarity, simplicity (although sometimes I can let it slide), and ignorance. And now it all boils down to what a truly hate: forced sentimentality, the manipulation …
review by . July 18, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Were it not for war, many a man's needs would be unfulfilled.
War Horse - directed by Steven Spielberg   Starring - Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and Tom Eddleson   Based on the 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo      This WWI drama tells the story of a young man in the English countryside - Albert and a remarkable horse.      Albert was a boy when he witnessed the horse's birth and its early years of growth. Then the horse went on the market and, to Albert's amazement, his father-a farmer barely …
review by . December 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Three hours about a horse
WAR HORSE Written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis Directed by Steven Spielberg Starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston and fourteen different horses as “Joey”   The other day, I told a friend of mine that I had never in my life ever ridden a horse. She gasped in horror as if I had missed out on one of life’s most rewarding experiences. I’m not against the idea of it, although I can’t imagine horses enjoy that kind of weight on them for hours at …
review by . December 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         War Horse must have been a tremendous challenge for director Steven Spielberg, as the film is a balancing act between two of his well-established styles, namely overt sentimentalism and horrific depictions of war. On paper, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. On screen, it comes across beautifully. Don’t ask me how he made it work, because I have absolutely no idea. All I know is, like Spielberg’s own E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, …
review by . December 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
While talking to my friend about War Horse, he told me that he initially thought there was some deeper meaning to the title; it wasn’t until later that he found out that the movie is literally about a horse in a war. Any kind of serious discussion about the movie from that point on was impossible. This makes the review all that more difficult to write because Steven Spielberg takes his story very seriously. You know the one about a horse, in a war.      Steven Spielberg …
review by . December 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'War Horse' 'Two Jews On Film' Have Dry Eyes Watching Spielberg's Latest Epic (Video)
         By Joan Alperin Schwartz      Albert (Jeremy Irvine) a young boy, who lives on a rented farm in Devon with his mom (Emily Watson) and his dad (Peter Mullen).  Albert has a horse named Joey and Joey...is one awesome horse and the family couldn't be happier.  Until...          WW! breaks out, and poor Joey is sold to the British cavalry and shipped off to France.  Luckily this reallynice Britis …
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A WW1 Action Film Based On The Award Winning Play
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