Saturday, August 18, 2012

Maybe There Are Different Ways To Be Brave: War Horse

           If forced to name my favorite drama of 2011, I'd have to say  Steven Spielberg's WWII epic War Horse.  Whereas cynics call it heavy handed drama with a "cry here and here" story, I call it old school storytelling that accomplishes the unthinkable.  It breaks the simplified notion of enemy. 
         Set during the events of WWII, War Horse opens with a young farm boy named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) who trains and bonds with his horse Joey, teaching Joey to plow and riding with him in the hills of England.  Money on the farm is tight, forcing Albie's dad to sell the horse to a fresh British soldier (Tom Hiddleston, Loki to Avengers fans), breaking Albie's heart and setting in motion the events of the story. 
      Over the course of the movie, Joey crosses enemy lines, giving faces and stories to both sides.  He runs as a British calvary horse in a deadly attack, works as a German cart carrier for two young boys, serves as a German cart carrier, befriends a young French girl, and runs through the barbed wires on both sides of the dark trenches.  Along the way, the viewer grows attached to every person Joey encounters, making deaths and victories all the more powerful and shattering traditional ideas of friend and enemy.The most powerful scene of the film takes place when Joey is caught in the jagged barbed wire, causing a British and German man to work together to free him.  It is a simple and profound human moment that speaks to my favorite quote of the movie-"Maybe there are different ways to be brave." 
      If you have yet to see War Horse, I strongly recommend the Best Picture nominated film.  Check your cynicism at the menu screen and enjoy a wonderful story based on a book and wildly successful play.

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