14 January 2012 4:11 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The madness of war is exposed by a stallion in Spielberg's emotional, no-holds-barred moral epic

Steven Spielberg has been working in Britain off and on for 30 years now, long enough in fact to have been awarded an honorary knighthood. But a few days ago, he described War Horse, his movie based on Michael Morpurgo's children's novel about the madness of war, as his first truly British film. "After I heard the reaction last night at the Odeon, Leicester Square," he said, "I realised I'd made my first British film with War Horse. Through and through."

Actually, the tradition War Horse belongs to is the Hollywood celebration of British pastoral that reached its peak during the second world war with Lassie Come Home and National Velvet. Both were movie versions of novels about lonely, lovable, innocent, working-class children passionately attached to animals in an idealised provincial England.

The narrator of the novel is Joey, »

- Philip French

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