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Friday, February 3, 2012

War Horse

The first World War was the final war in which horses figured much at all. In War Horse, World War I is experienced through the journey of a thoroughbred horse named Joey. After Joey is forcefully taken from the owner who tames and trains him, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, a master at onscreen warfare, this film is an unabashed epic throwback. The cinematography is reminiscent of one you might find in a John Ford Western. And the sunsets seem to be pulled from Gone With the Wind. All of this matches beautifully with John Williams' sweeping score.

The Spielberg magic works well for a big sentimental children's tale like this – a story that depends on an amazing set of coincidences. 

In the first of many memorable sequences, the horse's first owner Albert (Jeremy Irvine) trains Joey to pull a plough. Spielberg takes that simple setup and turns it into an unforgettable, stirring moment.

Simply put: A big, magical melodrama with Spielberg at the helm.

Award potential: Spielberg deserved a nomination for never losing control of the multiple storylines. Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, I don't see many wins for War Horse. Best Cinematography is your strongest bet.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

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