Battlefield of high emotions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 February, 2012, 12:00am


In War Horse, a hunter colt named Joey develops an impenetrable friendship with farm boy Albert (Jeremy Irvine). When the first world war arrives in England, Joey is thrown into the front line, but Albert must remain behind because he's not old enough to go to war. Before long, Joey's odyssey takes him through Europe, where he encounters friendly people who help in his quest to be reunited with Albert.

Much like the close-ups on human thespians, close-ups of Joey's face are used prominently. It sounds ridiculous - and to an extent, it is. But there's some animal-loving part of you that can't help but feel some tinge of emotion from looking at his face. If you let your imagination run free, you may detect a mild sense of his strife through the eyes. Mostly though, it's Spielberg taking horse acting way too seriously.

War Horse features one of the most intriguing, amusing scenes I've witnessed in a long time. Picture a British and a German soldier engaging in banter in the middle of no man's land, a momentary armistice created by a four-legged animal. The satire is genius; the irony of a horse bringing mankind together is unforgettably poignant. You're left with one question: could war be settled by a simple coin flip? It's an oversimplified solution to a complex issue, but it does raise plenty of 'what if' questions.