Troy Review

by Susan Granger (ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
May 13th, 2004

Susan Granger's review of "Troy" (Warner Bros.)
    Inspired by Homer's "The Iliad," this truncated version begins in ancient Greece with Paris (Orlando Bloom), a young Trojan prince, enjoying an adulterous affair with Helen, Queen of Sparta (Diane Kruger). Sailing home, he recklessly totes her along, ignoring his elder brother Hector's (Eric Bana) warning: "You'd let Troy burn for this woman." Helen's cuckolded husband Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) enlists his power-hungry brother, King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), who views an invasion of Troy as an opportunity to control the Aegean. Joining them are wise Odysseus (Sean Bean) and the great warrior Achilles (Brad Pitt). And so the Trojan War begins.
    While director Wolfgang Petersen and photographer Roger Pratt stage spectacular, brutal battle sequences, screenwriter David Benioff sticks with cliché themes of honor and dishonor within brotherly relationships: Paris and Hector, Menelaus and Agamemnon, Achilles and his cousin Patroclus. Problem is: They've discarded the psychological influence of the Greek gods, a dubious move since the tragic tale revolves around fate and destiny. As a result, Hector emerges as the only credible, sympathetic hero. Paris is an insipid weakling and petulant Achilles is just out for immortal glory, prophesying, "They'll be talking about this war for a thousand years."
    Brad Pitt prances and preens with his buffed body-builder's physique, in contrast to Eric Bana's more subtle nobility. Yet it's dignified Peter O'Toole, as Troy's aged King Priam, who claims the most tragic, memorable dramatic moments: watching his city under siege and begging Achilles for his son's body. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Troy" is an uneven, underwhelming 7. It has the sword-and-sandals historical scope of "Gladiator" - but not the heart.

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