Cynics may balk at Steven Spielberg‘s supposed sentimentality but he sure knows how to create a David Lean-esque epic sweep and make the heart swell. In just 2 and a half minutes, the new trailer for Spielberg’s second film of 2011 does exactly that. This is a longer look at War Horse than we got in the previous trailer, with more moments of character from Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston as well as newcomer Jeremy Davies.
For those who don’t know, the film follows the story of Albert and his horse, Joey, and how their bond is broken when Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the battlefields of WW1 to aid the war effort. Although his age inhibits him from enlisting, Albert heads to France in order to save his friend and return him back to his home.
From the outset and even in this short trailer, the look of the film is utterly beautiful. With the golden hues of the Devonshire countryside and the bleak grime of the WW1 battlefields, Spielberg’s regular cinematographer Janusz Kaminski has done it again. He is a painterly director of photography, who knows how to create some of the most jaw dropping imagery.
His collaborations with Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report) are all duly noted but his work on films such as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly confirms that he is one of the finest DoP’s in the business.
I am seriously looking forward to seeing this, despite the fact I know it will receive a tough ride from critics who don’t understand Spielberg. Yes, he is a commercial filmmaker but he is one of the most uncynical filmmakers working today. He does make big Hollywood movies which do at times sell to the lowest common denominator audiences but he first and foremost makes them with his heart. He is deeply passionate about his movies and the subject matter he approaches.
War Horse is a perfect match for his sensibility. It is based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, who similarly writes with broad strokes but always finds the right notes and eventually finds a complete emotional truth.
The film will be released on Christmas Day and you can watch the trailer below.