Troy Reviewby Bob Bloom (bob AT bloomink DOT com)
May 15th, 2004
TROY (2004) 3 stars out of 4. Starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Brendan Gleeson, Peter O'Toole, Julie Christie, Rose Byrne and Saffron Burrows. Music by James Horner. Screenplay by
David Benioff. Inspired by Homer's The Iliad. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Rated R. Running time: Approx. 160 mins.
In Troy, director Wolfgang Petersen and screenwriter David Benioff honor the warrior, the courage of one-on-one, man-to-man combat where you looked your enemy in the eye knowing either you would kill him or he would kill you.
The movie, loosely based on Homer's Iliad, tells the familiar story of how a massive army comprised of all the Greek city-states laid siege to the city of Troy after Helen, young wife of the Spartan king Menelaus, ran off with Paris,
a prince of Troy and son of that city's king, Priam.
Troy's sword-and-sandal spectacle is tempered by the human drama of men who fight to protect their homes or for their honor or to gain immortality and glory through deeds.
Such a person is Achilles (Brad Pitt), the greatest of the Greek warriors. Owing allegiance to no king, he is wooed to join the Greeks under the leadership of Agamemnon as a means of making a name for himself that will live
Achilles' main foe is Hector (Eric Bana), prince of Troy and eldest son of Priam. He leads and inspires the Trojan army against the Greek onslaught.
The Iliad was not only a story about men, but about the gods. They played a large part in the story, manipulating events and even taking part in battles. It has been more than 35 years since I read The Iliad, but if I remember it correctly, the gods betrayed Achilles.
And while religion serves as a subtext in Troy, the gods sit atop Mount Olympus and are neither seen nor heard.
Petersen and Benioff have fashioned a story about men who do not need the gods
to bring out their foibles and weaknesses: Greed, hubris, vanity are all on display by protagonists on both sides.
With the exception of the grasping and manipulative Agamemnon — a wonderful turn by the always delightful Brian Cox — the script does not really offer any
true heroes or villains.
Achilles is a great fighter, but he does not give a fig about a Greek nation.
He cares only for personal glory.
Hector seeks to defend his city and family, yet when he had a chance to prevent a war by returning Helen before the Trojans reached home, he faltered because he put family — saving his younger brother Paris — before duty and honor.
Paris (Orlando Bloom) is youthful, naive and dependent on Hector, but when the
time comes, he, too, finds the courage and determination to act decisively.
The battle scenes are striking; it's difficult to distinguish between the extras in armor and their CGI counterparts.
Strong acting moves the story along, starting with Pitt. He struts and wears Achilles' arrogance as a second coat of armor. He also is a fatalist, a warrior
seeking peace, yet who needs battle like a junkie craves heroin. Knowing his fate if he ventures to Troy, he defies destiny because he would rather die young and be remembered than live a long life and be forgotten.
Bana's Hector is Achilles' mirror. Their only difference is attitude. Hector would rather be with his wife and son than in the midst of battle, but once engaged, he is nearly unstoppable.
Bloom is impulsive and devilishly handsome as the headstrong Paris.
Lovely Diane Kruger is radiant as Helen. She does have a face that could launch a thousand ships.
Peter O'Toole is regal and wise as Priam, while Rose Byrne is fiery as Briseis, the Trojan acolyte who captures Achilles heart.
With a running time of about two hours and 40 minutes, Troy does lag in spots,
but overall it is slam-bang entertainment.
Troy is no stag night outing. The female filmgoers may enjoy a couple shots of
Pitt in the buff or the pouty Bloom's Paris level those puppy dog eyes at his Helen. Or, they just may like seeing guys run other guys through with swords or
Either way, Troy will meet your expectations.
Bob Bloom is the film critic at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, Ind. He
can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or at [email protected] Bloom's reviews also can be found at the Journal and Courier
Web site: www.jconline.com
Other reviews by Bloom can be found at the Rottentomatoes Web site: www.rottentomatoes.com or at the Internet Movie Database Web site:
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