Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Review: War Horse

Not a clip from War Horse, but it should be.
War Horse (2011)

An exceptional horse named Joey is separated from the boy who raised him and is sold to the British Army during the First World War.  After going through a series of adventures that touch on various lives, the boy, now an enlisted man, and the horse are reunited at a field hospital in France.

Based on a novel and Tony-award winning play, War Horse is pure Steven Spielberg fodder sopped so heavily in sentiment and manipulative film craft that it can barely stand on its own.  The fact that it can stand at all with a running time of 146 minutes is amazing.  Spielberg goes for a more Old Hollywood look to this outing, but instead of adding anything to the story, Spielberg merely draws attention to his windmills and orange sunsets.  Most scenes drag on interminably and the "touching on various lives" means a parade of episodes that neither entertain nor enlighten.  About the only refreshing thing with this film is that, unlike most First World War  epics, Spielberg actually shows the Germans losing the war.

Final assessment:  This is a Spielberg film.  If you like Spielberg, you might like this.  If you don't like his direction, you will loathe this to the pith of your being.

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