Steven Speilberg’s ‘War Horse’ is a tale that speaks of the futility of war. With the gruesome World War I as the backdrop, Speilberg weaves a poignant tale of loss, despair, misery and separation. Set in the year 1914, the story revolves around the relationship between a man and his horse.
Peter Mullan is brilliant in the role of Ted. He gets home an expensive purebred, much to the chagrin of his wife Rose (played by Emily Watson). In the eyes of Ted’s teenage son Albert (Jeremy Irvine), however, he is instantly transformed into a hero. Ted’s wish to train Joey, his steed, overshadows his very existence, and he thrives hard to assure his family that having the horse with them is not something to be regretted. The bond between man and animal grows strong with each passing day. And then comes the harsh reality called war.
Joey is passed around from the hands of British farmers, German soldiers, French farmers, and is finally caught in the midst of the war. The devastation and despair that accompanied World War I has been portrayed in a beautiful way, and Speilberg’s story hits at a deeper level than the superficial. The images of bodies lying smeared in blood and the smell of death in the atmosphere creates an indelible dent in the minds of the viewers.
War, the devastation that comes as an accompaniment of the same and the feeling of terrible sorrow and despair that is left behind after the war is over – is something that has been marvellously painted through the relation between Ted and Joey, and the way their lives are turned inside out and torn apart by the malaise called war. Speilberg excels in his story-telling capabilities, and ‘War Horse’ is another example of his consummate filmmaking.
Ratings: Three cheers for this one!