Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis
Based on: Michael Morpurgo‘s novel
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Kross, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Marsan, Liam Cunningham
Albert (Jeremy Irvine) has fallen in love with his neighbor’s foal and is out of his mind with joy when his father (Peter Mullan) actually buys the by now grown horse. Unfortunately they can’t actually afford it. But Albert begs until his mother (Emily Watson) allows him to keep Joey and together they find a way. That is, until war breaks out and Joey is bought by Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) and shipped off to war. Will Joey and Albert ever find each other again?
This movie was so freaking long, I don’t even have words for it. And my 12 year old me would hate me for saying this but: there was just too much of this damned horse.*
With a cast like this movie has, it is frankly a mystery to me how you can focus so much on this horse. I mean – Emily Watson? Net screentime about 10 minutes. Tom Hiddleston? 10 minutes. Benedict Cumberbatch? 5 minutes. And it goes on like that. It is seriously depressing. And if that movie actually had been about Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) and his best friend Major Stewart (Benedict Cumberbatch) going off to war and trying their best to keep themselves alive, I might have not been as bored.
Unfortunately it wasn’t. The only actor who gets a little more attention is Jeremy Irvine. And honestly – I’m not that impressed by his skills (though I have to admit that Albert was definitely not a character to show off your skills).
Plus, if you go to all the trouble to cast native speakers for the German and French parts, why THE HELL have them talk in English with a fucking accent with each other? Subtitles are a thing, you know.
But even leaving aside the squandered cast, the movie wasn’t to my taste at all. Over long stretches (like the entire time they’re in Devon) the movie looks completely fake – as if they hadn’t shot on location, but on sets in front of a screen with weird lighting. And the ending, shot against the sunset… could it be any cornier? Made me want to retch.
I thought that this movie would be a tear-jerker par excellence. But about 20 minutes in, I was so bored by the whole damn thing, that tears were out of the question and I just wanted it to be over.
Summarising: When did Spielberg start to suck? Because he definitely does here.
*Btw, I think that this horse is cursed: pretty much everybody who rides it, dies (except for Albert).