Friday, 2 March 2012

War Horse

I've started getting my film magazines again, that is Empire and Total Film. I used to get them many years ago when I went to the cinema every week and liked to checked out what they were saying about the films I was going to see. But then we stopped going so regularly and I couldn't really justify buying them each month.

But now we don't actually have a TV (well, we have a TV, but we don't get Freeview where we are, and we haven't got a phoneline, so no Sky either), we just watch DVDs. And so we're buying more DVDs and we've started going to the cinema more often as well (having a friend at work with a similar taste in films also helps as a deciding factor when picking a film).

I should explain that when I talk about our local cinema, I'm not talking about a bit multiplex. Our local cinema has one screen. It seats about ninety people, though it is advisable to bring a cushion or at least a well padded coat, especially if it's going to be a long film. Oh, and we usually have one film a week, sometimes two but that would mean that the films would be in for only three or four days each. And they're usually there a month or so after they've been in the cinemas everyone else... and sometimes they crackle or pop or the picture breaks up a bit because we get them after everyone else has finished.

And I love it.

Don't get me wrong. I love going to the cinema in Glasgow; going up on the escalator, getting proper real popcorn (salted, with butter, of course), sitting in the big seats, seeing things in 3D!

But there's something a little bit special about going to our cinema, we're lucky to have one and it's good to support them. We don't go out drinking or partying, so a splurge every so often at the cinema is hardly breaking the bank. For the two of us, drinks, an ice cream and some sweets it comes in at less than £20.

So on Wednesday, to celebrate the fact that we had an extra day to use up, we went to the cinema. I'd heard a bit about War Horse, but didn't know that much about it, aside from the fact that it was telling the story of the war through the eyes of the horse. I desperately want to read the book and I'd love the see the stage version.

There were bits of it that felt really stage-y, if that makes sense. While I was watching it, I could almost picture it playing out on the stage (especially the final scene). Some of the lines felt more theatrical than cinematic as well, if that makes sense. I think I would have found it a bit more distracting if I had seen it on the stage before.

At the start I was a little bit worried that it wasn't going to be my kind of film. I've never really been a horsey sort of person. When other girls were asking for horse riding lessons or ponies, I was more interested in dogs, hehe. But the film great on me, by the time Joey was sent away to war, I was hooked.

I think it was very cleverly done. The focus was all on the horse and I liked the way that it moved from one person to another. You got a slight hint of the other people's stories, but then it moved on with Joey to the next person or people. I never thought I could like a horse so much, I really felt for the poor creature and the bit where he ended up in the trenches was a bit of a tear-jerker.

And it had a good bit of humour in it too, which was good because without the odd little bits of humour it would have been a really heavy-going film. It was filmed in an interesting way though, it wasn't particularly gory, at least not for the people. You didn't see the people dying or being shot, there would be a shot of them, then you'd see something else and hear a gunshot, then they would be on the ground. There wasn't anything gratuitous and it meant that the focus was really on the horses.

It was pretty long. None of us had checked how long it actually was (yup, me with all my film magazines never actually checked that out). It had an interval (because our cinema isn't designed for long films), we were all quite grateful for that though. I needed a break to rearrange my coat which I was using as a cushion because my bum had gone to sleep.

Numb bums aside, I really enjoyed it. It's one that I'd quite like to get on DVD and I definitely want to read the book... and see the play.


  1. Ooh film reviews, you should do more of these :)

    I liked War Horse too and like you was compelled to blog a review last month. I agree some bits still smack of stage rather than big screen-I felt the whole bit with Toby Kebbell's Geordie Tommy and his German counterpart rescuing the horse from No Man's Land was a prime example; it just sounded stage like-but yes, still a very good film.

    I love little cinemas and you're right they should be supported and cherished.

    Used to regularly get Empire myself but I always preferred a little known/little remembered rival Hotdog, that was a really good read.

    1. I shall do my best to write more film reviews, I normally only feel inspired to do them when I'm watching a film for the first time, but I did enjoy reviewing the Christmas films we watched. (For some reason most of the traffic to this blog comes as a result of people searching for Home Alone 3, hehe).

      I think I missed your War Horse post, going to have to look back and check it out.

      I went to see one of the James Bond films in a little cinema in Wootton-Under-Edge when I was in my teens. That was more of an experience than a trip to our local cinema here. The seats were basically church pews, hehe. There's something about small cinemas though, and when we were going every week I used to request films and they'd get them in based on my request, not something that happens in the bigger ones. ;-)

    2. How cool is that? A cinema that gets films in based on your recommendations, now that is what I call community!

      I agree, small cinemas have a wonderful atmosphere. Our late lamented cinema-closed down in the early 90s-was wonderful; the staff all wore uniforms, the kind that were around since the 50s and we only had 3 screens. Now, it's a Chinese Banquet place and our local cinema is down the road, a dull soulless multiplex.

      My review was probably easy to miss under the wealth of random pictures and waffling I get up to!


Let me know what you think. :-)