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 blubberUnfortunately I had neither!