"Troy Falls Slowly"
Doubtlessly inspired by the success of GLADIATOR, this ambitious retelling of Homer’s ILIAD tries to tell a lot of story in just a little time, and, in doing so, limits some of the greatness of Homer’s tale.
Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, is an unbeatable Greek warrior fighting only for his own fame and glory. Agamemnon, played by Brian Cox, is the greedy king who tries to harness Achilles’ power so he can extend his kingdom. Their goal of violent domination confronts the Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) as he woos the wife of another Greek king, Agamemnon’s brother. The two sides must clash.
Paris’ brother Hector, played by Eric Bana, commands the mighty Trojan army. He knows that Paris is unwise, but he perseveres to protect his brother, his family, and his country.
TROY is full of hard fought battles, unforeseen defeats, and tricky military strategy. It intersects action with the drama behind it, depicting brilliant leaders as they and their countries are undone by pride and emotion.
The characters repeatedly choose feelings over reason. In addition, they constantly act in deference to the gods, appealing to Apollo and Zeus to help them through battles. Revealing an inner conflict, even as they conduct the ceremonies and traditions, several of the main characters deny the power of divinity. Achilles, most notably, defiantly beheads a statue of Apollo and gives a monologue about how mortality is what makes life exciting, and how he is glad he is not a god. These false religious, pagan and humanist elements were typical of the times, however, and should be expected from such a movie.
Unnecessary are the several implied sex scenes. They reveal little of the characters’ natures but rather revel in gratuitous semi-nudity. The violence is purposeful and not as gory as many other war movies. It is also more realistic than the recent gush of Asian-influenced action movies. Brad Pitt is an effective, powerful Achilles, and Eric Bana is also good as Hector, but Orlando Bloom is underwhelming as the Trojan prince who starts the war. He is a little coward with little honor, so it’s incomprehensible why Hector and his father, King Priam, keep defending him.
THE ILIAD takes place over ten years, but TROY compacts it to a matter of several weeks, and, in doing so, the characters’ motivations are radically simplified. Prince Paris is a blind and cowardly fool for love, King Priam heeds vague mystical signs over logical advice, Achilles, the most fierce warrior in the world, is undone by the first woman who does not fall at his feet, transforming one of literature’s immortal characters into a hoary cliché. One has to wonder how these characters are great conquerors when they are so simple-minded.
On the positive side, however, TROY contains some positive moral elements where the filmmakers extol heroism, integrity, and kindness over cowardice, greed, and cruelty. It is also interesting to note that Hector, the movie’s strongest hero, extols faith, family, and country in a couple major scenes, in that order.
Despite some gripping scenes, TROY tries to fit a lot into its two-and-a-half-hour running time and sometimes breaks momentum with some tedious, slow moving dialogue. A better script with sharper structure would have made this movie much better.
(Pa, FRFR, Ro, BB, L, VVV, S, NN, A, M) Pagan worldview that excludes divine presence, with frequent false religious talk about Greek gods and ancient Greek religious customs contrasted with skepticism, Romantic philosophy causes people to act selfishly by honoring emotions over thought, and some moral elements extolling heroism and kindness over cowardice and cruelty, as well as extolling faith, family, and country, in that order; two light obscenities; very strong battle violence includes lines of soldiers clashing, many men killed by arrows or swords, man is stabbed in shoulder, men trampled by ball of fire, several men impaled, and sword fighting; implied fornication and implied adultery several times, two women with man, married man kisses another woman then gets upset when a younger man steals his beautiful wife, references to intended rape that does not occur, and another scene that links sex with violence; male nudity seen from side when man lies on top and beside women and when he moves around while lying on bed, and rear and side female nudity – both immediately before or after fornication; wine consumed; no smoking; and man severely disrespects foreigners’ religion and customs, soldiers kidnap girl and kill innocents, and several deceptive tricks are waged in battle.
GENRE: Historical Epic
TROY is an ambitious retelling of Homer’s ILIAD. Brad Pitt plays Achilles, the unbeatable Greek warrior fighting for his own glory, and Agamemnon is the greedy king trying to extend his power. Paris and Hector, played by Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana, are the Trojan brothers who lead their people into war against Agamemnon and the Greeks. Full of hard fought battles, unforeseen defeats and tricky military strategy, TROY intersects action with the drama behind it, depicting leaders undone by pride and emotion.
The characters repeatedly choose emotion over reason. They also pay respect to their false gods, appealing to Apollo and Zeus to help them through battles, although this is to be expected in a movie about Ancient Greece. Unnecessary are the several implied sex scenes, which reveal little of the characters’ natures but revel in gratuitous semi-nudity. There is a lot of strong battle violence with not too much gore. The acting is mostly standard. Despite some positive moral elements and several gripping moments, TROY tries to fit a lot into its two-and-a-half-hour running time, sometimes breaking momentum with tedious, slow moving dialogue. A better script with sharper structure would have helped.