January 4, 2012


Jeremy Irvine and Joey (his Horse) - Heartbreaking performance. Courtesy Photo
War Horse – “Dazzling, Emotional”


Not since ‘Gone With The Wind has there been a spectacular cinematic movie with exceptional storytelling flair like “War Horse. 

Steven Spielberg has said that he wanted War Horse to be a war movie that parents can take their children to. Actually, I mostly agree. However, this powerful tearjerker may be too much for very young kids.

This grand scale film has the best cinematography that I have seen in many years. I like everything about it…the Acting, editing, art direction and the breathtaking emotional scenes.

The stage play and book have already been massive hits. It’s difficult to get good seats for the stage version in New York. The play will be coming to the Orpheum Theatre soon – my advice, get tickets soon. The War Horse movie based on the book by Michael Morpurgo is a story about a poor, struggling family and their young son (Jeremy Irvine), who falls in love with a Horse that is being auctioned off. The love between the boy and the Horse is phenomenal.  I would keep a look out for Irvine, who I believe will become a major Hollywood Star and maybe even be nominated for an Oscar this year. Heck, while they are at it – why not nominate the Horse? He deserves an Oscar also. And if the Horse doesn’t want it – I’ll take it.

There are some gory war scenes in the film, but this exhilarating story will overtake any of the gory stuff. You’ll cry, you’ll cheer – and yes – at the end of the film you will stand up and cheer. Even I did…and you know how hard-hearted and self-centered I am!
Bonus: The John Williams musical score evokes openness of the countryside. The musical themes lift us to unexpected feelings from the Williams music while we look at the enchanting Red Skies in the distance. The exhilaration is powerful enough to keep you in your seat. Although, this thrilling ride might require that you fasten your seat belt. 

And then there is the unforgettable cinematography by Janusz Kaminski. It’s a remarkable, Gorgeous rarity.  If nothing else – see the film for his work.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked- 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also Produced and Hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 


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