Film review: War Horse (four out of five stars)

The main stars of War Horse.
The main stars of War Horse.

(12A) 146mins

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston

THE WAR Horse is packing the audiences in for two very good reasons - it’s a great story and virtually all the family can watch it.

The latter is slightly surprising considering the story revolves round the First World War in which millions of men and horses died in truly horrible conditions.

But full credit has to go to Spielberg for a masterly display of directing - we are left in no doubt that ‘The Great War’ was a bloodbath but you don’t see much gore and no limbs or guts flying about.

Dark shadows hide scenes of violence and even a frontal attack by the British at the German machine guns sees the soldiers literally just dropping dead.

This does lead to slight confusion where it’s not always clear whether some of the main characters have died or how they met their demise (though it may just be me not paying close enough attention).

But that’s really a small price to pay for a heart-warming tale that reveals the futility of war.

For those few who don’t know, it’s based on the inspired and inspiring story by author Michael Morpurgo about the son of a Devon tenant farmer who forms a close bond with a young horse.

They are separated when the war arrives and we follow the horse as he forms bonds with a variety of people, all affected by the conflict.

There’s great performances all round from both humans and horses.

It really tugs at the heart strings but ultimately reveals that friendship and love is more powerful than hatred and violence.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley