Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is released in cinemas today. The buzz around Uggy from The Artist and his award chances has got me thinking about the horse from Spielberg’s film. Joey is undoubtedly the lead character in War Horse, and the performance depicts an array of emotions. What will dent the character’s chance of critical acclaim is the fact that Joey is played by multiple horses. This is quite understandable, as War Horse depicts Joey’s journey from infancy to adulthood. Nevertheless, the adult Joey is also played by more than one horse. Perhaps War Horse is more likely to succeed in a Group Performance type of award? I cannot imagine the Academy going for this, but MTV Movie Awards get on to it!
After his father buys Joey, Albert Narracott decides to train the horse to plough, despite the animal’s unsuitability. The pair have a bond, and Albert is distraught when Joey is sold to the calvary at the outbreak of World War I. Albert enlists, and travels throughout Europe as a soldier, taking a different path to Joey…
At almost two and a half hours, War Horse‘s running time is really felt at times during the course of the film. Due to the film’s sentimentality, it seems as if certain sections run a little too long. War Horse is by no means painful viewing, but it would have been more enjoyable with a shorter run time.
The dominant theme of friendship and companionship is unmistakably earnest. However, the theme veers into schmaltzy territory, which can become exasperating for viewers who do not buy into the film. Although War Horse appears to be a tear-jerker from the trailer, it does not quite tug at the heart strings as expected. Instead, the film tells a nice story, rather than an overly emotional one. Nice is in fact a good word to describe the film, with all the positive and negative connotations the term holds.
War Horse is a visually sumptuous film. The orange-bathed lighting in final shots is rather gratuitous, but scenery is finely captured otherwise. There is a handful of amazing shots, which really exhibit Steven Spielberg’s directing talent. Despite the war setting, there is little actual violence depicted on screen.
Performances in the film vary. Jeremy Irvine is a suitable lead as Albert, while Tom Hiddleston delivers a fine performance as Captain Nicholls. Playing German boy Gunther, David Kross’ accent is patchy. Praise should be given to the animal trainers who have done a fantastic job with Joey and the other horses.
War Horse will be dull to some and immensely satisfying to others. Those who are aware of the premise of the film should have few surprises.
The full-length trailer for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse has now been released. From the looks of it, this one is going to be a tearjerker. There is still no sign of the horse talking, but we can dream. Even if he doesn’t speak, I’m sure this tour de force performance will garner him an Oscar nomination. War Horse is released in cinemas on 13th January 2012.
Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is released 13th January 2012. From the trailer, it seems like the film focuses heavily on a horse. This horse appears to have a more noble role to play than the one in Equus, however. The film is set in Europe during the First World War. To be honest, it doesn’t look as thrilling as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nonetheless, the quality of the film does shine through in the trailer. And maybe the horse will talk. It’s a Steven Spielberg film so we’ll all go and see it anyway.