War Horse (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">War Horse</strong> (2011)

(On TV, March 2015) Horses are noble and beautiful creatures.  Doing a movie from a horse’s perspective through World War I doesn’t sound like a bad idea, and in the hands of Steven Spielberg, can become surprisingly potent at times.  But at nearly two-and-a-half hours, War Horse often tests the patience of anyone who isn’t an equine fan.  It takes half an hour to get to a triumphant plowing scene, for instance.  But War Horse does get better and more urgent as it goes along: by the time we’re in the familiar WW1 trenches, the film holds nothing back in showing us the devastation of war on men and animals alike.  Spielberg being at the helm, there are a few great sequences along the way, even though the film as a whole often seems markedly less spectacular than other Spielbergian spectacles.  There’s a lot of war-is-hell content here –the film can be merciless in dispatching characters, something that the human-episodic structure (since the horse is the protagonist) takes to its fullest advantage.  It adds up to a lengthy sit of a film, although rewarding for those with the patience to do so –and the last half of War Horse is quite a bit more dramatically rewarding that the first one, despite some outrageously sentimental manipulation toward the end.  

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