“War Horse”: A journey worth taking


How good could a movie be with a horse as the main lead? Apparently, pretty good.

“War Horse” directed by Steven Spielberg, comes a story about a boy and his horse. Yep, you’ve read that right. Not a boy and his dog, but a boy and his horse. “War Horse” before it became a movie, was based off a children’s book and has a continuing run on Broadway.

Jeremy Irvine plays Albert Naracott, the boy who raises the horse called Joey after his father overbids for him at an auction. The story really takes off when the first World War starts. Joey is sold into the army to pay off the money Albert’s father still owes to the auctioneer. Captian Nicholls played by Tom Hiddleston takes charge of the horse and promises that he will do whatever it takes to reunite the boy and horse back together. Side note: Loved this character…

Due to the dangers of War, the horse is passed between the English, the Germans and the French. This is where  Speilberg finds a great story within the horse and the four years it lived through the war.  You don’t see much of Albert until the end when he enlists in the Army. That’s not the important bit. It’s how this horse changed people’s lives.

Joey was different things for each person. He became an army horse that charged into battle. He became a way to escape the War for two Germans. He became a little French girl’s dream for a couple of days. My favorite part was the understanding between enemies, an Englishman and German soldier put aside differences to save a horse. Joey is also a friend to Albert.

The film seems daunting when you see the running time for the film which is 2 hours and 26 minutes. You ask yourself, surely Spielberg could’ve found something to cut? That’s the thing, I’m glad he kept all the different stories in. It made Joey become a War Horse.

The film had great beauty especially during the scene when the army men mount their horses in the wheat field. There is such a symmetry and artistry in that shot.

I was even surprised by John Williams score. A lot of his much usually sounds the same. For instance, you can watch “Harry Potter” and pick up on a “Star Wars” theme. The score to “War Horse” sounded different. It fit with the time period and the journey that the horse went through.

“War Horse” is definitely one of my top picks for Best Picture which surprises me. This is what my Oscar challenge forces me to do. See movies I usually wouldn’t go see and in the end, I am very happy with the outcome.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Art Direction
  3. Best Cinematography
  4. Best Music (Original Score): John Williams
  5. Best Sound Editing
  6. Best Sound Mixing
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