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Feb 15, 2012

Review: War Horse (2011)

                  Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Marsan, Geoff Bell, Patrick Kennedy, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, David Kross, Rainer Bock, Nicolas Bro, Leonard Carow, Robert Emms, Matt Milne, Liam Cunningham and David Dencik.

Directed By:
                         Steven Spielberg.

                War Horse is a movie i was really excited about just because it was directed by my most favorite Hollywood and i repeat Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. It looked epic and i thought it will get the utmost Oscar attention which it may have did but not the way i thought of. I saw this movie with not so excitement after i read most of the reviews, it didn't impressed me the way it should have but i wasn't disappointed either. This movie came as a slight shock to me as i am not in the mood of seeing decline of another Hollywood director who in past awarded us with much great movies, lets just hope that doesn't happen. War Horse is a war drama about a horse, as you can See the title adapted from a book which also had a stage production too. The book was targeting younger audience and i can see why or how. With the overall feel of this movie, it looks like the movie is different from the book as i heard it was based on the perspective of the horse only but here, they added or diverted much of the plot to the characters too. Anyways movie starts with Albert, played by Jeremy Irvine starring at a newborn horse, they live in a beautiful village in England in the pre first world war time. Later his father Ted, played by Peter Mullan brings a horse home despite his wife Rose being against it due to their financial problems. Rose is played by Emily Watson by the way. The horse seems of a different kind, not the one they were officially planing to buy who could plough their rocky fields. Albert names him Joey and gets very attached to him while teaching him things and one day to the every one's surprise ploughs the fields too.


                   Ted has to sell the horse in the war times to the Army Officer Captain Nicholls played by Tom Hiddleston who tells Albert that he will take care of him. England is defeated there with the horse Joey and a few others going in the custody of Germans where he is made to pull of the army ambulance wagons and on those horses, two brothers escapes who gets assassinated later on. I can go on and on and tell you about the entire journey of Joey aka War Horse but that will practically ruin my already worse Synopsis capabilities. Yes this movie is purely based on the horse's journey but then most of the time he gets side kicked by the other characters and you get disconnected with the whole actual premise of the movie to show the horse's journey and his experience. I mean it is shown but most of the time it just doesn't come of quite well. I had some problems with the screenplay which was written in a very unreal and quite childish manner which felt like reading a book and not watching a movie. The length of the movie is very long and which becomes quite excruciating sometimes to suffer all of the things going on in the movie. War Horse may have some ridiculously overdone or pretentiously looking forced uplifting scenes that comes off as laughable rather than making you cry. You can't help it but laugh at how some scenes are so incredibly overdone, stretched that it comes off as a worst piece of work that you might expect from a first time director given the best book in the world to work on. I mean the scene when Joey gets stuck in the barb wires and the English and German forces at the each side decides to release him, the manner it is done comes off as shockingly unrealistic and very fake. It was a facepalm situation for me when i was watching it, i may don't know the exact time but that once scene was so long which again added more to the unbelievable humor at the worst time like suddenly between a huge fueled world war, everyone stopped to help a poor horse and forgot everything else. And once again, i am the most sentimental person you may know but that seen was not well made, it comes off as the exact opposite of what it was suppose to be.

                  The whole sense of movie is like watching a marathon of a mini series because all those five main encounters of Joey doesn't quite come together with each other but they feel very loosen up, something i also felt watching The Help and then again, not very happy with both of them getting the Oscar nomination. The story with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is entirely different. What i thought would be a child slash horse story came of as a horse slash people from different countries tale which might not be very bad considering how interesting it was. The story i liked the most was the grandfather and his granddaughter one which as i think about is making my eyes slightly teared up. Those different stories haven't been handled very well and doesn't quite effects you for that reason. The movie is very sugary i mean it is so coated that you don't get to taste the center of it. But at least it somehow had some points and that it was handled by Spielberg and the team of his friends very well. Jeremy Irvine comes off as a good promising newcomer actor with good looks, deep eyes and passion. He acted well and as the movie sets off, you are immediately connected to him, not merely because of the writing which is weak but because Jeremy himself makes you do that which is a good quality. Emily Watson steals the show in some of the scenes that she is in and Peter Mullan did well too. Out of everyone, the most standout performance is by Niels Arestrup, who plays the grandfather to Emilie. He gives the most heart touching, honest and very believable performance. War Horse has a huge cast with very well known and big actors who are ultimately, like many of Spielberg movies, underused.

                    The reason why i might rate this movie very high, which i wont have otherwise is the technical side of the movie. It has one of the best or one of the most good looking cinematography done last year with beautiful lush green valleys to the harsh battlefields and the camera moments are just epic. The war scenes are incredibly done with some of the best scenes, it don't have those close up shots like Saving private Ryan but with a very picturesque zoomed out shots that shows the entire scene in a grand fashion. The art direction is done well too considering the fact that it had many different locations and stories. John Williams provides us with brilliant swelling and very emotionally manipulative score which does most of the job of pulling your heart strings than the actual movie but if you take it out of the movie and listen to it, its brilliant. Movie starts very dull and just sets off like that without establishing that base first which really effects the entire movie and you just doesn't connect with anyone or anything even if you try but leave that to Mr John Williams who does it for you. There is too much of fantasy and pretentious elements that Spielberg don't handle quite well but is still not an absolute disaster. I liked the movie visually but is too flawed, it reminds you of the old film making and really goes well with what seems to be the theme of 2011 which is nostalgia. A perfect C for the movie but i would give overall a B- for the great and good looking technical achievements.

Grade: B-