What to say about this film? If anyone was gonna take a pop at making it, it had to be Steven Spielberg. The mise-en-scene was beautiful, as we see sweeping landscapes that are naturally burnished by the setting sun. And the performances were truly moving, featuring known actors such as Toby Kebbell (Dead Man’s Shoes), Tom Hiddleston (Thor), and Benedict Cumberbact (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). I had no idea Benedict was in it and had a massive fangirl freakout in the middle of the cinema, it was messy.
Anyway, despite the incredibly authentic countryside and costumes, the exceptional scripting, and the performances that make me proud to be British, there were several outstanding errors in the picture:
Firstly, the music had no real interesting melody and should have been used more to narrate the emotions and reactions of the horse. It seemed to depend mostly on crescendos to provoke a sentimental reaction from the audience, and wasn’t used effectively to signify any feelings the horse (Joey) may have had.
Secondly, the film was more people-orientated, following the characters who fell in possession of Joey instead of Joey’s journey - I thought this was significant as the book is written entirely from Joey’s perspective.
And lastly (though this is a minor point in comparison), at one point we see David Kross (The Reader) spot Joey in the German army camp after the unsuccessful British attack has left him riderless. I thought this was tremendously poor casting as Gunter (David Kross), at least in this shot, looks very similar to Joey’s owner, Albert (Jeremy Irvine), and I found myself temporarily stumped as I wondered why Albert was working under German army influence.
Apart from that, some of the sequences are extremely impressive and makes it apparent that this is Steven Spielberg’s handy work. The ending scene seemed slightly lazy, though by understating this it gave Joey a chance in the emotional spotlight. However, the potential of the sentiment in this scene left me feeling a bit underwhelmed with the ending. On the whole, I did really like the film and I think if anyone could have pulled it off then it would have had to have been good ole’ Stevey.