Following a horse
February 20, 2012By Richard Jones
A look at War Horse (M)...
STEVEN SPIELBERG'S latest epic movie captures the enduring connection between a young man and his horse –and the Great War which tears them apart.
In 1910 Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) is a farm boy in Devon, south-west England. He lives with his father Ted (Peter Mullan) and mother Rosie (Emily Watson).
Times are tough for the Narracott family, but it's when Ted comes home with a young horse that Albert's life changes.
He tames, trains and forms a strong bond with Joey. Sadly, the two are forcefully parted when the horse is sold into the British cavalry as World War 1 looms.
Spielberg's film follows the journey of Joey as he moves through the battlefields of Europe with Albert in pursuit.
First up Joey is assigned to a British cavalry officer, Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston). The horse is lost after a heroic cavalry charge and found by German soldiers.
Eventually he ends up in the care of a French farmer (Neils Arestup) and his granddaughter.
As the film follows Joey's journey, changing the lives of all those he meets, the climax is reached with the horse caught in No Man's Land: the bleak and deadly space between the two sets of front-line trenches.
It's a bit soppy and tear-jerky and you have to continually remind yourself that this is, indeed, a Speilberg film.
Still, the story has an important Down Under connection. Even though Spielberg and his crew used no less than nine horses to play Joey,
Australian Zelie Bullen trained the star horse, Abraham.
She hopes one day to be re-united with her endearing pupil. So Zelie is on a quest.
She's desperate to acquire Abraham and bring him back to her property on the Gold Coast hinterland.
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