War Horse is a well-made film adaptation of the rather skippy 1982 book by Michael Morpurgo, but it’s all there.
The movie actually pads out the book, but delivers a heartwarming story. Significantly, the story is told from the people’s point of view, whereas the book was from the horse’s point of view.
The horse in born on a scenic farm in Devon in England and is bought by a poor farmer, but the farmer’s son (Jeremy Irvine) trains it and he and the horse become close friends.
When WW I breaks out and the farmer needs money to save his farm, he sells the horse to the army. The officer who buys it promises to take care of him, but is killed during a charge and the horse is captured by the Germans.
Later it finds a good home with a young French girl, but then is retaken by the Germany army and struggles to survive pulling monsterous artillery pieces. One day the horse breaks loose and runs through no-man’s land, the wasteland between the German and English lines. Desperate and panicked, the horse becomes trapped, wrapped in barbed wire, but is rescued by two kind and peaceful English and German soldiers. Meanwhile, Irvine, now old enough to join the army, is fighting nearby in the mud, blood and despair of the trenches.
The movie is beautifully shot, and very watchable; what you’d expect in a movie directed by Spielberg. It’s impressive, but lacks imagination. You always know where this film is going.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.