Heroic stallion Joey survives over three years of horrific World War I but finally panics and gets wrapped in barbed wire like a trussed turkey. That awful scene is not for kids (or anyone), but Steven Spielberg’s film is amazingly short on blood. It’s lost in a No Man’s Land between storybook fantasy for the young and what Spielberg knows about the hell of war. Lush and pictorial, with a dashing cavalry charge and gummy scenes of people bonding with horses, it asks us to imagine an epic nightmare through equine eyes. Joey is swell, but the story is shallow, mawkish, and insanely improbable. With Jeremy Irvine, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Peter Mullen, Tom Hiddleston. 2011.

David Elliott

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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