Subscribe to industry newsletters

Advertise on Bizcommunity

Manufacturing Indaba 2018

War Horse: overwhelming scale and splendour

There's a susceptible sensibility that is eminent in Steven Spielberg's films that, ultimately, reveals itself spectacularly through the lens of the camera, performances of the actors, tempo and pace of the editor, music score by the composer, and the creative team that brings his extraordinary vision to life. War Horse is no exception; in fact, it not only celebrates Spielberg's illustrious career as a film maker, producer and humanitarian, but is also an absolute consummation of the themes and issues that have dominated his work for four decades: it encapsulates the wonder and awe of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET: The Extra Terrestrial; the brutal hostility of war in Saving Private Ryan, Band Of Soldiers and The Pacific; the conflicts and contradictions of coming of age in Empire Of The Sun and AI: Artificial Intelligence; nature versus human nature in Jaws; the spectacle and adventure of the "Indy" saga; and abuse and emancipation of the human soul in The Color Purple and Schindler's List.

A unique and visceral experience

Spielberg has embraced a variety of universal issues and genres that are filtered through his unique artistic perception and incomparable interpretation. With War Horse, Spielberg's command as a director working with actors and his creative teams, and his genius as a film maker are clearly evident. His understanding of the subject matter, personal observations and passion as an artist result in a unique and visceral experience.

Emotionally drained

It is a touching and tearful emotional journey that pays homage to a great story. The unrivalled symbiotic bond between animals and humans (if it was not for the scene-stealing goose, I would have said horses), has never been captured with such discerning enthusiasm that will leave you emotionally drained. There are moments of anguish and torment that are very difficult to watch, but under Spielberg's skilful direction, these moments are lightened to underscore the violence. There are also moments of sadness that will break your heart, and moments of absolute delight that will allow you to share it tearfully with the characters. The spectacle, scale and splendour of War Horse is overwhelming, perfectly balanced by intimate, humourous moments. Spielberg's casting is exceptional, particularly his discovery of Jeremy Irvine, who truly embodies a spirited and hopeful young man whose bond with his horse Joey results in magical and authentic eagerness. War Horse is a must-see experience that you will definitely revisit and always remember.

Rating 5/5

About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen received the number one spot for most popular lifestyle contributor for 2012, 2014 and 2015, and 2nd spot in 2016 on