out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Brian Cox, Peter O'Toole, Brendan Gleeson, Saffron Burrows, Rose Byrne, Julie Christie, Garrett Hedlund, Vincent Regan||
Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
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.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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