Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 3 Featurettes: In The Thick of
the Battle, From Ruins to Reality, Troy: An Effects Odyssey; Theatrical
trailer; Easter egg.
IMMORTALITY surely beckons the cast of Troy, for the way in which
they have turned Homers The Iliad into one of the great
cinema epics of our time.
The film boasts one of the biggest budgets in motion picture
history, and a cast which combines the finest looks of Hollywoods
young brigade with the grit and guile of some of its greatest
screen icons, and subsequently delivers an awe-inspiring spectacle,
that has just about everything you could expect from a Summer
blockbuster, and more besides.
Crucially, Wolfgang Petersens film manages to combine the
necessary big screen bravado with an emotional intimacy needed
to do Homers poem justice, managing to capture the horror
and futility of war, while also displaying the honour and greedy
obsessions of those fighting it.
And while Troy isnt without its own Achilles heel,
in the form of certain artistic liberties and the occasional lacklustre
supporting performance, it remains a towering achievement in every
sense of the word, rivalling the likes of Ridley Scotts
Gladiator and Peter Jacksons
Lord of the Rings trilogy
for sheer old-fashioned endeavour.
The story is the stuff of legend and, for the most part, is neatly
recaptured by David (The 25th Hour)
Benioffs script, even if it fails to adhere to the mythology
Paris (Orlando Bloom) provokes the fury of Spartan king, Menelaus
(Brendan Gleeson), by running away with his young wife, Helen
(Diane Kruger), and providing the catalyst for the Trojan war.
Enlisting the help of his war-lord brother, Agamemnon, the King
of the Mycenaeans (Brian Cox), Menelaus sets sail for the city
of Troy, determined to wreak bloody revenge for the humiliation,
but under-estimates the might of the Trojan army, whose walls
have never been breached.
The key to victory, however, lies in the form of Achilles (Brad
Pitt), believed to be the greatest warrior alive, but who merely
fights for his own immortality.
His contempt for Agamemnon threatens to undermine the unity of
the Greeks, paving the way for Hector (Eric Bana), the fearless
young prince of Troy, to successfully protect his homeland.
But in the battles which ensue, the wrath of Achilles is provoked
by an accidental slaying, paving the way for a decisive confrontation
and a certain wooden horse
At two hours and 40 minutes, Troy is the type of film for which
the term epic was invented. It seldom feels its length,
and delivers on just about every level.
Petersens film draws out the tragedy without pandering
to the mainstream, and is populated by flawed heroes rather than
knights in shining armour.
Achilles may be a tortured hero, whose disdain for the arrogance
of Agamemnon is justifiable, but he, too, is merciless in the
extreme, placing his own immortality above the lives of everyone
else, while Hector is guilty of making several rash errors of
judgement - not least in his blind devotion to his cowardly brother,
When the two eventually collide, their encounter makes for one
of the great on-screen tussles in movie history - but it is just
one of a clutch of memorable moments.
Battles are skilfully orchestrated, combining an unflinching
realism with the wow-factor required from this sort of epic, but
never to the detriment of the personal conflicts involved. As
a result, every one of the principle cast members is given the
chance to shine.
But as excellent as the likes of Peter OToole and Pitt
are, the movie stands or falls, emotionally, on Banas portrayal
of the honourable Hector, and he rises to the challenge spectacularly,
allowing Troy to function on such an intimate level.
As such, the film remains a richly satisfying all-round experience,
the type of which harks back to the epics of the David Lean era,
while making the most of advances in technology.
It is a handsome movie in every sense of the word, which epitomises
all that is great about going to the cinema. For once, there is
no need to beware of Greeks (or Hollywood) bearing gifts.