Troy

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Hollywood sure knows how to put on a show. No matter how impressive the spectacle might be, if there is a lack of heart or emotion then something that should be great will only come over as average. One of the movies that TROY will be compared to is GLADIATOR which itself benefited from a great script. TROY does try to keep to Homer’s The Iliad, well to Hollywood’s standards at least, but fails to get the audience excited with the emotional contexts of both love and war.

In ancient Greece, Paris, Prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger), Queen of Sparta spark off a war between their two kingdoms when they run off together to Troy. Helen’s husband King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) is not going to stand for this and approaches his brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox), the powerful King of the Mycenaeans for his help. Seizing the opportunity to capture Troy once and for all, Agamemnon agrees to help his brother and has all the tribes of Greece to back him up on this quest.

The King is very confident that victory will come quickly and he is convinced that this will be possible with the help of the greatest warrior ever – the seemingly invincible Achilles (Brad Pitt). Achilles is drawn to war and seeks to have his name remembered for centuries to come. Nevertheless, Achilles does not like to take orders so consequently Agamemnon allows Achilles to do battle his own way.

Meanwhile King Priam (Peter O’Toole) of Troy fully backs the bond between his son Paris and Helen and believes that no one will ever breach the city walls, particularly with his son the mighty Prince Hector (Eric Bana) leading his army. What the awaiting Troy army does not realise is that 1,000 ships are heading their way, carrying 50,000 men who are determined to do the impossible.

As mentioned before, it is easy to compare this to GLADIATOR but unlike GLADIATOR, this is a story that is well known to those who have studied ancient Greece. Where the movie fails is that the arguments from both sides of the camp on the reasons for their actions are quite logical. This makes it hard to boo the bad guys as you are unsure who they are for at least the first half of the movie. Even though this might have been the original intention of Homer’s The Iliad, you feel sympathy for Achilles, even though he is fighting on the side that is the greater of two evils.

This is also a movie with some serious quality control issues. Out of all the actors on show, Orlando Bloom fails to ignite the love story element of the movie. The female roles are just not well written and then there are the odd poor lines of dialogue that creep into a movie that features some fine performances from both Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Impressive, brutal battle scenes are preceded by some strange Enya type music, which fails to get the blood pumping. When the climax unfolds at the end of the movie, it is approached as an afterthought and lacks any emotional punch. The fact that there is no written epilogue about the surviving characters is a poor way to end the movie and you walk out of the cinema feeling short-changed. Good but not brilliant.

4 out of 6 stars

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