Did I watch the same film that the other reviewers here watched? Because I found nothing but obvious Oscar bait. It was as if someone wrote a list of every possible tear-jerking story cliche and checked off as many as they could fit within time and budget constraints. Horses? Check! War? Check! Plucky youngsters? Check and check! Plucky youngsters fighting to save the farm! Plucky youngsters fighting to keep the horse! Plucky youngsters who were previously enemies now getting along! Plucky youngsters severely wounded but staying plucky! I could go on. Really, I could. But all that's necessary to say is that almost everything you expect to happen does.
The cast is full of fantastic actors whose talent is disappointingly wasted in this film. I can't blame them, considering the schmaltzy script they had to work with ("It's a miracle horse!" - somebody actually says that. Actually, I think every character says that?). Emily Watson's brow furrows expertly. David Thewlis sneers as required. Peter Mullan stares remorsefully with perfection. Benedict Cumberbatch's mustache should win its own Oscar, and if an Oscar could be won simply for tearful lip quivering, Jeremy Irvine would win it for sure. I only wish I could have taken any of it seriously. Actually, I found myself caring more about the father's pennant than the horse.
Never have I seen such a display of dull writing, ham-fisted scripting, utterly scattered direction and overkill cinematography. It's no surprise they've evaded professional critics in screenings. I don't know who they've targeted everywhere else, but the audience at mine was largely seniors and veterans who all applauded it wildly. The younger audience members I saw did not seem to be so impressed. Some in my row were actually laughing quietly at all the wrong places. To be fair, perhaps this movie is really intended for a very specific demographic of which I'm not yet a member. Or perhaps, more likely, it was deliberately manipulative.
Drama / War
Drama / War
Dartmoor,1914: To his wife's dismay farmer Narracott buys a thoroughbred horse rather than a plough animal, but when his teenaged son Albert trains the horse and calls him Joey, the two becoming inseparable. When his harvest fails, the farmer has to sell Joey to the British cavalry and he is shipped to France where, after a disastrous offensive he is captured by the Germans and changes hands twice more before he is found, caught in the barbed wire in No Man's Land four years later and freed. He is returned behind British lines where Albert, now a private, has been temporarily blinded by gas, but still recognizes his beloved Joey. However, as the Armistice is declared Joey is set to be auctioned off. After all they have been through will Albert and Joey return home together?
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March 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm