Review Roundup: WAR HORSE Hits the Silver Screen


Steven Spielberg has adapted War Horse into a feature length film, which is set to be released in movie theatres on December 25.

At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to the trenches to find him and bring him home.

War Horse was originally a novel by Michael Morpurgo, released in 2007. The show was then adapted into a play which is currently running at the New London Theatre and Broadway's Vivian Beaumont Thetare. The film's cast includes Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Kennedy, Emily Watson, Toby Kebbell, David Thewlis, Eddie Marsa and Peter Mullan. Did the film version receive the same praise on paper and stage? Find out now!

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Spielberg, attuned to the power of that equine eloquence, gives Joey and his human costars exactly what they need to run free. This is a beautifully built, classically framed movie, shot with the unshowy natural expressiveness of a John Ford Western by Spielberg's great cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski. The tears this War Horse wrings are honest, as Joey's fate becomes entwined with those of British and German soldiers equally ­capable (amidst bombs, gun blasts, and hideous barbed wire) of appreciating animal magnificence.

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: Putting this episodic saga on the big screen accentuates its one-dimensionality more than does the still-running legitimate theater version, where its symbolic and allegorical elements can be more easily accommodated in abstract terms. All the same, this is a story that people of all ages and from all nations can understand, which, propelled by Spielberg's name and much undoubted acclaim, will translate into major rewards at the box office.


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