War Horse review

Director:
Steven Spielberg
Cast:
Jeremy Irvine
Tom Hiddleston
Celine Buckens
David Kross
Rated: PG-13

It’s like the horse version of Forest Gump.

War Horse tells the story of a horse (surprise surprise) named Joey. The horse is bought by a poor farmer and raised into a powerful creature by the farmer’s son Albert. As World War I starts, horses begin to be bought and Joey is sold among them. After this Joey goes into different battles and places around Europe during the course of the conflict.

Along his way he is met and taken care of by soldiers and civilians of all nationalities and many who come across the horse are impressed and become attached to it. Eventually, Albert joins the war as well and sets out to see if he can be reunited with his horse from home.

For most of the movie, up until the last half hour, the story felt really dull. It wasn’t so much of what was going on around the life of this horse. It was quite the epic tale. The problem is the characters who come across the horse. Most of the characters who come into paths with Joey die way too soon before any real development can be made. Instead of having the audience become attached to the characters that Joey ran into, Spielberg just seemed to keep raising the body count to pull at heart strings.

The last 30 minutes, though, were fairly nice. There is a fantastic scene where two soldiers help Joey out of some barbed wire as well as a perfect shot at the end of the film. However these good parts of the movie suffered very heavily from being too little too late.

The best performance in the entire movie was the horse himself too. Not only were a large portion of the characters underdeveloped but they were also very incompetent which made it difficult to feel anything for them (Maybe next time don’t desert your army in broad daylight during a large march where everyone can see you).

One thing Spielberg got right was the direction and cinematography. Every bit of scenery and settings that were captured on film were absolutely stunning and amazing to look at. The world of WWI Europe comes alive on screen and draws an audience in.

However, the fantastic visuals that Spielberg put on screen don’t make up for the problems it has. The story of “War Horse” is a fine one and it looks fantastic however most of the movie comes off as boring since the majority of the characters are just either not that interesting or highly underdeveloped. War Horse comes in at a high 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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