Film Review: War Horse

Steven Spielberg adapts touching children’s story in a big screen adaptation of War Horse.

War Horse

Cert. 12A

4/5 stars

WAR Horse tells the tale of sensitive farmer’s son, Albert, whose beloved horse, Joey, is sold off to the army at the outbreak of the First World War.

Joey battles through hellish conditions on both the German and British side, facing certain death on numerous occasions before becoming trapped in No Man’s Land, with soldiers in both trenches vying for him.

Distraught Albert signs up for duty in the absurd hope that he may be reunited with Joey on the other side of the Channel, experiencing his own atrocities as he fights to make it home alive with Joey by his side.

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This big screen adaptation takes a charming children’s book and Spielbergs the hell out of it.

To be fair, they were always going to have to tinker with the narrative quite heavily, as the original story is told by the horse, but with Richard Curtis on-board they pulled it off without a hitch.

Predictably, War Horse is a big-budget, breath-taking production, even if it does seem as though Albert and Joey’s story was simply hijacked as a vehicle for yet another two-hour Spielberg battle-fest.

In spite of all this, it’s still a riveting experience, with the horror of war captured heart-breakingly by a faultless cast and magical performances from the animals.

Complete newcomer Jeremy Irvine is mesmerising in the lead role and, through him, some of the na�ve, warmth of Michael Morpurgo’s original story is retained.