Steven Spielbergs first full length British film War Horse depicts the madness of war, unconditional love of a young boy through the eyes of a stallion. Based on Michael Morpurgos childrens novel, the film is an epic journey that encompasses various emotions such as love, compassion, and obsession. Spielbergs subject in the film is love, war and an incredible, marvelous creature called Joey, a stallion.
War Horse takes a young stallion Joey, raised by 15 yr old Albert in the background of flourishing West Country farm through the revulsion of First World War battlefields and back home again to the family that loved him the most.
Spielbergs protagonist in the film is Joey but not other characters. The director narrates the story of the film by taking us into the lives of three characters touched and moved by Joey. Each character has a story to share, certain emotions to express and most importantly few subtle messages to deliver. In the first characters life; Alberts, Joey is shown as a lucky charm, who not only helps the family regain its farm but also teaches them affection and never give up philosophy. In the second characters life; Captain Nichollss, Joey is depicted, in a war-zone, as someone who spreads love. And, finally in Emilies life, Joey is shown as a caretaker, who helps the young girl break away from her fears.
It may be hard to identify the emotion of Spielbergs films unless you put yourself in and analyze closely. There are so many poignant scenes in the film, wherein youd want to give the director a standing ovation. For example; in a scene where Joey and Albert plough a useless piece of stony land into fertile land; Spielberg chose to shove a motivational conversation between the characters to make the scene heartwarming.
People who debate over the fact that it is hard to recreate theatrical play into a successful moving picture, may have to take back their words after seeing this film, as Spielberg splendidly makes this film one of the best adapted screenplays of the recent past. Of all genres, Spielberg narrates any story best through warfare; weve seen that in Saving Private Ryan and now in War Horse. The directors battle scenes are sheer reminder of what sight and sound could possibly do together. The bang of rifles and the rumble of cannons can literally quiver you.
Irvin as Albert is the most memorable performer of all, as he single handedly carries the film on his shoulder with utmost sincerity. Brief roles by Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Marsan also deserve equal appreciation, as they create an impression with their performances. Emily Watson as Alberts mother plays the hapless character torn between the love and respect.
John Williams triumphant music for the most part and echoing, soulful music for the rest of the part is a blessing to the film. Janusz Kaminskis cinematography gives the film the perfect epic aura that will remembered for a while.
If you typecast the film as a boy and his horse saga then youre underestimating its passion and resonance. In one line, War Horse has the heart of a believer that transforms a simple childrens story into heart wrenching emotional drama