In this movie we find Michael stops his car when he sees three horses standing a bit far away from the road. That's precisely how he gets saved when the car bomb explodes. He got out of the car to take a closer look at them as they coincided with the sketch of three horses in the "book with the red cover", Realm and Conquest.

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Committed to a fully developed back story, director Tony Gilroy spent a good deal of time establishing the details of "Realm and Conquest" with production designer Kevin Thompson. The director explains that right from the beginning, when he first read the script, he could tell that "Realm and Conquest" was going to be a key prop. In the movie it's a metaphor for truth and justice. In creating the details of the fictional novel, Thompson generated original visuals inspired by German Expressionistic images cut from wood blocks, and Gilroy wrote the first two pages for three chapters of the book. They even went as far as designing a "Realm and Conquest" card game for a scene between Henry and Michael. Thompson offers, "This detail was important to Tony because, in his own life, novels and games similar to 'Realm and Conquest' allow him to connect with his son in a meaningful way."

My question here is: Apart from the connection of the three horses from the sketch of this book, was there any philosophical implications to it? Or was it any reference to any other works of Tony Gilroy?

I was not able to find any account of philosophical or any other implications apart from that connection with the sketch.

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    Michael has had a rough week. He just left the hit-run fixer job, which was the easiest thing he had to deal with in a stretch of days that included a close colleague's death, his bar fixtures being auctioned off, begging for a loan from Marty, paying off a loan shark, etc. He is watching the horses and contemplating their simple lives and comparing them with the choices he has made with his. – dbugger Mar 8 '17 at 3:22
  • @dbugger You might want to flesh that out into an actual answer. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 6 '18 at 11:15

According to the commentary track, the editor was pushing for three horses in the photo, as just one wouldn't be enough for viewers to get the reference. From IMDb trivia,

When Clooney is in Wilkinson's loft, looking through the copy of the book his son recommended, the artwork of the horse on the hill was added through CGI as it was recommended to be a reason for Clooney to pull over and walk up the hill in the very early shot with the horses.


Actually I don't think there is any significance other than it's one peaceful moment he has throughout the whole fiasco.

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