Tuesday, December 20, 2011


By D.E.Levine

Steven Spielberg has done it again. Lately Spielberg has primarily been an Executive Producer on his films. But War Horse shows he hasn't lost his touch as a director.

The movie is an epic tale set against the background of rural England (starting in Devon)and Europe during the First World War.

In the beginning, a rural farm boy named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) tames and trains Joey, a horse bought by his father. Despite the fact that the horse is not a plow or farm horse, Albert gets Joey to wear a harness and clear and plow a large field.
When rains destroy the flourishing crops planted on that field, Albert's father cannot pay his debts and is forced to sell Joey to the British army.

Amid devastating war scenes, the film follows Joey as he meets and influences the lives of British cavalry, German soldiers and a French farmer and his granddaughter.

A heart wrenching emotional climax is reached during the war in No Man's Land and viewers are on the edge of their seats as Joey is headed to be put down due to injuries and starvation.

In a story book ending fate intervenes and Joey meets a different end. The emotional feelings are palpable.

While Spielberg yet again shows us the tragedy and waste of war, the photography is startling, as is his ability to direct scenes of huge numbers of actors and animals in battle.

Above all, the film emphasizes the human spirit and the devotion between an human and an animal. There is some dichotomy in the continual survival, against all odds, of Joey, when tens of thousands of men died in battle.

However, the warmth of the relationships both in family and military, as well as the overwhelming "feel good" emotion over the love of an animal, surfaces as the driving force.