As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
Through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, a forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.
While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.
On the outbreak of the First World War, Albert's beloved horse 'Joey' is sold to the Cavalry by his Father. After being sent to France, in a bid to survive, Joey has an unexpected journey across war torn Europe. Albert enlists in the British Army, and is wounded during the Battle of the Somme. Whilst recovering in Hospital, he learns of a Horse, found in no mans land.
I have not seen a better movie than War Horse to introduce mature youngsters to the concept of war and its effects. In addition, the idea of WWI: the Great War, the war to end all wars is a history lesson only movies can make real. Besides, it's a rousing adventure.
Steven Spielberg has helmed another sentimental favorite about a boy and his horse, whom he finds after the horse has been drafted. If you marry The Black Stallion with All Quiet on the Western front, then you have an idea of the mix: audience pleasing characters, their horses, and war as in Saving Private Ryan sans the flying body parts. The trenches are well-known images by now, but Spielberg brings a measure of reality that needs not the blood and guts to transmit the horror.
War Horse is not Schindler's List because it plays the sentiment card a bit too boldly with music that demands specific responses the audience could achieve without the coaching. However, the visual imagery is stunning, more like the John Ford epic silhouetting than the David Lean expansiveness. Yet, both artists are there in Spielberg's art.
Those horses: Joe is the horse sought after by his nurturing young man, Albert (Jeremy Irvine), and both the Brit and German armies as a touchstone of the humanity the director so carefully husbands. The scene when a Brit and a German soldier suspend the war to help the horse is a memorable manipulation of the theme of war's insanity. It's not the first time an artist has taken the theme of a time out of war to show its absurdity in the face of enduring humanity.
Although the film is about a half hour too long and the director's themes too obvious, he has achieved a renaissance for old fashioned quality filmmaking: gorgeous shots, sympathetic characters, epic themes, and a plot easy to follow. Over it all favors the loving, childlike director, who appeals to the youth in us and the hope for mankind.
29 of 53 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this