Saturday, 14 January 2012

Oh Dear

Well, I went to be entertained and I went to have a good bawl.........and unfortunately I did neither....
Warhorse, I am afraid to say, is not one of Steven Spielberg's better films.Sure, it has a chocolate box view of Edwardian Devon, sure it has a totally underused Emily Watson as a plucky farmer's wife and sure it has sweet boy in love with his pet horse which is sadly taken off to the Great War...... but what it doesn't have is any real dramatic tension, in a story which, on stage at least, has gripped and moved literally millions of people.
The play is narrated by the central horse character of Joey; subsequently the emotion of the trauma of separation,loss and of War itself can be shared by words, as well as visuals... The film lacks this device and is, I am sorry to say, much the poorer for it, as horses, although beautiful animals, can look ever so slightly inscrutable to the untrained eye. If they show human emotion...they can unfortunately look a little cartoonish

Warhorse also does not have many of those flagship Spielberg touches that satisfy the soul.
But a few scenes do linger  in the mind

- the horse Joey galloping madly  across the besieged trenches at night
- the shooting of two deserters as seen through the sails of a working windmill
- the gentle banter between a sweet natured German soldier (Hinnerk Schönemann) and a chirpy Tyneside   Squaddie      ( Toby Kebbell)  who meet up in no-man's land
  ( incidentally the best performances of the film)

But overall, I felt cheated there was no "Lassie Come Home moment".....
I needed a bit of cheap sentiment, and a lot of blubber
Unfortunately I had neither!
6/10

31 comments:

  1. Jon,

    I was wondering about seeing this film. You provided an excellent critique. I'll have to plow through your blog (I'm a newbie to your blog) and find other critiques. I saw the previews to this film (Joey running through the trenches at night) and it looked like it could be a great film. It's a shame that opportunity was missed. I'll still watch it on DVD.

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  2. Ron.
    thank you, I tend to see a lot of films and write about them.... ( sad bastard that I am)

    WARHORSE is not a bad film..... its just a bad Spielberg film..... which is a shame!

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  3. War Whores!

    Brilliant film!

    I'm saying nothing else!

    Fuck; what did you want, a tango dancing horse?

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  4. If only Lorraine Kelly had been it!

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  5. Now an English whore running amok in the trenches would be another flick intirely!!! IG x

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  6. I read the book but have not seen the movie yet. It seems whenever I read the book first the movie isn't quite what I expect. Still, I want to see this one.
    Connie

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  7. Totally agree. Other than the wonderful score by John Williams, I was disappointed with this movie.

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  8. not one!!! on the diet!!!
    having a break from the usual crisp white and associated nibbles!!!

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  9. It must be the smack then!

    Any port in a viral storm!

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  10. Makes it sound like the best of the movie is seen in the commercials.

    I've seen other films like that. Sad and annoying when it happens.

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  11. That bloody little girl. Pure Sylvia Young Theatre School. I was praying the Germans would shoot her - and the horse to be quite honest!

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  12. By the way old chap, horses dont show human emotions for a very simple reason. They're not humans! Same goes for dogs, cats , geese, turkeys and the whole menagerie. That's what separates us from them - for better or worse depending on your point of view, of course.

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  13. I've been seeing mixed reviews of this movie, and have to admit that I don't think I'll see it--Do you have 'Iron Lady' on your list of movies to see John--It's also getting mixed reviews here.

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  14. Thanks for this review, I have been wondering about this film. They show the horse galloping across the war zone at night in the US commercials on TV here and that looks very powerful. But I wasn't sure about the rest.

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  15. IG - you don't double up as an Aussie poster called either 'Reg', or 'Docker' do you? He's an arrogant, insulting whore as well!

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  16. Dang it! I so thought that movie would be THE one to spend real money on. Now, I will wait until someone donates it to our tiny library and then I will check it out. In the meantime...I told all my bossiest roosters about you puching the gander, they did not find it nearly as hysterically funny as I did. Good one. Love it.

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  17. Even considering my disdain for Hollywooden output in general I've never rated Spielburger's films. There was one that entertained but obviously not deeply or else I would be abel to remember the title.

    Thanks for the review, I'll wait until it comes out on VHS tape in the charity shop bin!

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  18. Come to London town and see the lovely stage version. Tears - guaranteed. ;-)

    Has SHAME reached your neck of the woods yet? Will aim to get a review of that posted soon.

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  19. Now I definitely won't go and see it. Not even when the DVD is reduced to £5 in Sainsbury's, which is how I usually see films - with the added bonus of being able to skip through the bits you can't bear to watch.....

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  20. Thanks for that, John.I read the book and then saw the stage version which was just so moving and beautiful. I really don't want to spoil that experience and couldn't envisage how it would appear in cinema...but the boys are keen to go, so we'll see. x

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  21. Ok I'll wait till it come out on DVD

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  23. I don't think I was ever planing to see it. Ever since I saw the awful A.I. and how he turned it into a smaltz-fest (It really should have ended when the kid threw hmself in the water.........)I have been wary of Spielberg movies. (Hard to tell it's the same guy who directed Schindler's List.....)
    Now you've convinced me. I think I'll buy the book.

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  24. *planning*

    My keyboard hates double letters ......

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  25. My turn! Not ever being a Spielberg fan (a little to 'disney-like' for my liking with a few good tricks thrown in for 'effect'), as soon as I heard that the movie is from a horses perspective?!....that clinched it for me.

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  26. I'm not a Spielberg fan to begin with, so I'll take a pass on this! Thanks for the heads-up.

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  27. Having seen the play, I'm not planning on seeing the film...thanks for reassuring me this is he right decision

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  28. This is one film we've been waiting to see. We'll still go even though I've been warned by you that it's not what I was expecting John...I appreciate your 'take' on it. :)

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