DRAMA; 2hr 26min
STARRING: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan
Horse power: Irvine
Steven Spielberg is in his warm-and-fuzzy directorial element with War Horse, a beautiful saga based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel, elegantly and emotionally told, and with the most lovable non-human star since E.T.
Joey (played by multiple contenders) is a spirited chestnut thoroughbred with a white blaze, four white feet and melting chocolate eyes, bought on impulse at auction for 30 guineas by hooch-stoked Devon farmer Ted Narracot (Mullan; Watson is his sorely tested wife) and beloved by their teenage son, Arthur (Irvine). When World War I breaks out, ignoring Arthur’s heartbroken protests, Ted — for whom 30 guineas is a small fortune he can’t afford — sells Joey into military service. After the Brits are routed by the Germans, the horse is co-opted to the deadly slog of hauling heavy artillery.
Spielberg sinks his teeth into the filthy, unyielding business of battle, which cripples the bodies and souls of men and horses alike. But not the indomitable Joey who warms hearts and shapes lives and whose reunion with Arthur in the hellhole of the Somme has the weepy makings of a flying bicycle moment.