Friday, 5 April 2013

War Horse (2011)

I thought this was going to be a gut wrenching tear fest with lots of death, blood and mud as brave English men trudge through the trenches of WW1, it actually turns out to be a very heart warming children's film of sorts, more educational than Hollywood if anything.

Yes the film is tear jerking but not as heavy I thought it would be, as Mr Spielberg was at the helm I was kinda thinking along the lines of 'Schindler's List' but boy was I wrong. Its based on a children's novel for one thing (didn't know this) and the film is completely down that route...for the younger viewer. The plot is basically the story of a horse as it progresses through various owners after the outbreak of WW1.
Fate, despair and luck all play a part for the horse and its short lived owners as we follow a brief history lesson and see how mankind can be both cruel and compassionate. This is displayed marvellously in a scene as an English Tommy and German soldier meet up in no mans land befriending each other (won't say why), a nod to the true event of 1914 when both sides met on Christmas day in no mans land...ate, drank, exchanged gifts and played a football game together. A real moment in history which showed how ranks of troops were merely unwilling pawns used in high commanding war games.

Now despite the ever increasing PG's we are fed the film is perfectly made by Sir Spielberg with the kind of direction, art and cinematography you would expect from the mortal God of Hollywood. The film looks perfect, nothing less, everything is beautifully created and looks wonderfully accurate and correct. Allot of this film is like a watercolour painting, the colours, the angles, the lighting and the flow from one scene to another is stunning, Spielberg is the Master.

There really is very little to fault here, the cast is chock full of English quality with performances most American stars can only dream of being capable of, right down the line from the bigger stars to character actors only British cinema goers will know of like Geoff Bell. The only quibble I did have was towards the finale the film does get a little too overly melodramatic to be honest, too many obvious 'lump in the throat' moments stringed together clearly trying to really nail the emotions at the final hurdle.

Must give a huge kudos for the animal training work that was clearly put in, many horses were used but you would never know, amazingly well behaved and very clever animals to perform as required.

As said this isn't a Hollywood/star studded film, its more of an educational film or aid for all children of all ages and it should be shown in schools. There is no blood and very little violence anywhere but the film is spot on, it isn't too heart breaking as I'm sure your wondering, we know Spielberg can make us blubber but for me this film didn't leave me a howling wreck on the floor. Everything is created faithfully but carefully edited and shot cleverly so as not too horrify but more to inform, embrace our countries proud history and hopefully inspire our youngsters to find out more for themselves.