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Sentimental or rather said over-sentimental is about the most used word you will hear or read, in reference to this movie. I however could handle the sentimentalism of this movie for most part (though it gets pretty bad toward the end) but that however does not mean I was very fond of the movie as well.

Really my biggest complaint about the movie remains its storytelling. The story itself was perhaps also not that good and suitable enough to begin with but the storytelling just doesn't make things much better. It's needlessly messy and convoluted because it attempts to use the horse as its main character and lets everything in the movie evolves around him. However the movie constantly makes you wonder why it does this. First of all; a horse is just a horse and this is a horse like every other. It's not like the horse can talk or has any super powers, yet every character in the movie seems to be highly affected by his presence and all fall in love with it at first sight. But the movie never really gives you enough reasons to explain why- and what it is exactly that makes this horse so special. And second of all; no matter how good the animal training for these horses used were, you still need good, solid human characters as well, to help capture the movie its heart and drama. This is something the movie seems to be lacking.

The horse switches owners constantly, throughout the entire movie. Like a Forrest Gump of the 1910's he's galloping his way through a war struck Europe and every time he changes hands, it tells you a new story, from a different WW I involved perspective. This is an approach, that I am convinced off, works out better on paper than in a movie. I am sure that the novel, this movie is based on, is good but within a movie this approach does not work out too well. It makes the movie needlessly long and every time you start to get into a certain story or character, it's over already. It starts to make you feel detached from all of the events and emotions of the movie, after a while. It would had been fine if Jeremy Irvine's character had been present throughout the entire movie and the movie would had followed his entire story as well, instead of focusing on the story of the horse alone.

But don't worry, there still is plenty to like about this movie. It by no means is an horrible one and it also never becomes dreadful to watch, in any way.

I for instances was really impressed with the horses, used in this movie. Animals are always hard to work with for film-makers but the animal were superbly trained it seemed. Their interaction with the other characters and the timing was spot on. It probably was the most impressive thing about this movie.

But of course also technically and visually there is very little wrong with this movie. It's tightly made, with obviously a large budget behind it. It's a great looking period piece, with also every so often, some spectacular looking war moments. The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski is also simply stunning. It's one of those movies you could pause at any moment and the images you see will look just like a painting.

The movie is also featuring a finally true good John Williams musical score again. For a while it seemed like he had lost it but with this movie he showed he still is at the top of his game, despite the fact he is almost 80 now.

Not an horrible movie by any means and still real skillfully made but I think and feel this will be one of those Spielberg's most will forget about in 20 years, or so, from now.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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