Saturday, 4 February 2012

Horse o'doom - mawkish and cheap

Just back from seeing War Horse. I'd originally wanted to see the stage version and I really really should have stuck with that impulse, particularly given my current rage filled frame of mind.

Richard Curtis was involved with the screenplay. Do I need to say anything else?

I don't know why (I'm reasonably fond of horses, I ride and I come from a horsey background) but given the back drop of the Great War (over 35 million casualties), I really cannot raise even the faintest glimmer of a fuck about what happens to one dreadfully irritating central casting yokel (and the succession of equally annoying German and French teens who took brief ownership of horsey, all rapidly despatched) and his quadruped. Given that they (yokel and nag) were reunited I suppose that the ending was 'happy' but all I feel is manipulated. Given that dreadful things happened to pretty much anyone that the horse touched apart from said yokel, one could really question the totemic value of that horse. And to be quite honest by the end of the film, I'd have happily shot the boy and the horse myself had a shotgun been to hand.

Overall, I largely agree with this review, although the star rating I'd award is rather lower.


  1. I have no intention of ever watching the film, which looks dreadful, but no.1 son tells me that the stage play in London was very good.

  2. Yes, I really wish I'd seen the play. The moment I heard about the film I knew it was going to be dreadful (the whole point of the play is the puppetry, is it not?) but a friend who's going through a hard time wanted to go.

    The annoying thing is it did make me cry in places but in a resentful way, knowing I'd been manipulated. There are a couple of good scenes - the cavalry charge through the corn field for example. And it did make me really think about the pointlessness of trench warfare. But the boy and horse saga and the dreadful patronising dumbed down approach and portrayal of the British working class added nothing to any of that.