Troy (2004 USA)

movieTroy is film-making as good as it gets when it comes to complex and difficult subject matter compressed into a movie less than 3 hours long. Wolfgang Petersen doesn’t have the sumptuous and warm visual aesthetic of Ridley Scott, but stages the fight scenes and battles beautifully and gives us locations and buildings and uniforms we’ve not seen before. Troy has a much more you-are-there feel about it than any other film about the Classical Age.

Gladiator homogenized and made pretty its ugly world, and had so much CGI, you almost thought you were watching a Star Wars spinoff . Troy gives us extras in uniform for the battle scenes, hundreds of them at least, if not thousands. The CGI is kept to a bare minimum and the difference really shows. Let us remember that Troy is based on The Ilaid and the story covers at least 10 years. So it is no small feat to compress the timeline.  And even though the film fetishes the male form (as well as a zillion shots of Pitt’s toned buttocks, we also get to see an oiled Orlando Bloom – he’s completely hairless of course). It’s strictly a torso and arse affair – no quivering titties or jigglin’ beef bayonets on display. And don’t worry if your Granny will understand it. This is Hollywood and most Westerners under the age of 50 are so under educated and/or dumbed-down that it would take a 2-hour movie just to explain all of the Greek gods and their significance as it relates to the human characters in the Iliad/Troy.

rose-in-troy-rose-byrne-6770409-1700-2550Troy, as is, really works, with no homosexuality (it is obliquely referenced for those who’ve read the book), and no Mount Olympus gods. Achilles’ mother Thetis is a sea-nymph but that is also referenced indirectly. It would have been really cool to see Achilles’ new armour glowing, but, Peterson chose to keep his film grounded in the human dimension. An explanation of just why Achilles was vulnerable in his heel (his mother held him there when dipping him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable thus that part was not made invulnerable) would have proved helpful for the purpose of heightening the drama when he is finally felled by Paris at the end. What is great about the film is its pacing, the superb acting by all involved, the look of the film, the visceral and effectively executed battle scenes, and the sense of another time. There have been many works where the Seventh Art has spent a fortune, and the result ends up being anything but artistic! In the case of Troy, it seems that the budget of $200 million has presented us with a very harmonious and aesthetic result.

A weakness of the film is the casting of Helen. My vote would have gone to German actress Xenia Seeberg, but Diane Kruger did a fine job acting-wise. But her beauty and presence were not grand, as required though. It would have been nice to have a beauty that was truly breathtaking to underpin the story for the viewer as to why she could launch a ten-year war. The greatest weakness of the film has to be the music. The original score was tossed out and excellent composer James Horner was brought in at the last minute and created a score that lends nothing much to the proceedings. Imagine some of the surreal music by Nino Rota from Satyricon in place of Horner’s music and you get an idea of how otherworldly and brilliantly the right kind of music could have elevated this film. One notable cast member was Brian Cox. As bad as his haircut is, I did enjoy his performance. Sure, he’s hammier than a ham sandwich, but at least he seems to be having some fun with it. As for Bradley Pitt–he’s busy channeling Brigitte Bardot, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. By now you might be asking when will this bloody review ever come to an end? Yes, it will. Here it comes….fin. 🙂

troy

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Comments

  1. An entertaining review as always! Thanks for the insight, I’ll definitely keep your comments in mind when I check out this film!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Merci madame! I had low expectations going in and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This flick is worth being patient with. 🙂

    Like

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