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FHHS Today

The Students News Site of Francis Howell High School

FHHS Today

The Students News Site of Francis Howell High School

FHHS Today

‘War Horse’ heavy on the emotions

Gritty and brutal, War Horse is no My Friend Flicka movie, revealing the side of human nature one doesn’t want to admit.
The story starts on the Narraccot family’s rented farm in rural England where sweeping scenery reminiscent to a Jane Austen drama. The trouble begins in War Horse when the father (Peter Mullan) buys horse he cannot afford. Captivated by the horse, son Albert (newcomer Jeremy Irvine) names him Joey and swears to train him.

The following twenty minutes are a montage of the growing relationship between Albert and Joey. These twenty minutes, however, are the least compelling of the movie, strung together with no real plot.

The movie finds its feet after the start of the war. Joey is sold to a young English officer (Tom Hiddleson) and cameras capture armies rising from tall grass to ambush a German camp.

The movie utilizes the “cutting-away” technique to maintain a PG-13 rating, but John William’s score and Spielberg’s style make the battle sequences feel like they could have been extra scenes from Saving Private Ryan. One of the most powerful scenes in the movie follows the first battle sequences, when the camera pans out and over a field full of the dead.

“I did not want to show, in the cavalry charge [depicted in the film’s second act], this slaughter of all that cavalry. It gave me a chance to show what was likely the last cavalry charge, because of the advance of technology. This story allowed me to be a bit more mythological, to be able to show cavalry charging and then in the next cut show a riderless horse jumping over machine guns,” Spielberg noted, in a Q&A following the premiere, of the past war projects.

The unique thing about War Horse is the narrative follows Joey, allowing the savage nature of war to be experienced through innocent eyes.

War Horse refuses to shy away from the cold truths of war. Soldiers kill humans and animals, young and old, without flinching.

Spielberg makes his anti-war stance very clear by setting the story in World War I and allowing even those who should be considered enemies to have redeeming traits. Expect to see Oscar-nominations. 

Film Information:

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebell

Language: English

Running Time: 146 minutes

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence



Photos Courtesy of and DreamWorksPictures. Used with permission.