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Troy /

Rated: R

Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Peter O'Toole, Diane Kruger

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Produced by: Wolfgang Petersen, Colin Wilson, Bruce Berman
Written by: David Benioff
Distributor: Warner Bros.


Movie Image

Movie Image
Movie Image

     So there it is—a bare-bones motion picture, supposedly “inspired” by The Iliad. How ironic that inspiration, itself, is what Troy is lacking.

     From the moment I saw the trailers for Troy, I thought it would be a great movie, despite my reservations. Between the early summer release-date, its apparently epic proportions, the great director behind it, and the gigantic names making up the cast, my instincts were supported. As the film’s U.S. premiere approached, I was stunned as negative reviews began to flood in, thinking that the small shadow of doubt I had originally, doubting the pictures greatness, could end up being true. And while Troy certainly isn’t a failure by any means, the contents of my reservations about the movie have won out to my expectations. There are a few great scenes in the movie, comprised of nothing but wit and creativity, but most of Troy represents an abysmal missed opportunity.

     The biggest of the numerous disappointments in the flick is Brad Pitt’s performance as Achilles. Pitt, who isn’t an extremely talented actor, is usually able to find his ground and work with it, eventually turning in a decent performance. That’s not the case here, though, and I’m not overreacting when I call his work terrible. CNBC reports that he was paid seventeen million dollars for his efforts; I’m not sure if I could think of a bigger waste. While he may increase the film’s marketability, he certainly doesn’t bring anything artistic to the table here. However, the tremendous quality of Eric Bana and Diane Kruger’s performances as Hector and Helen almost redeem Pitt’s disastrous doings. Orlando Bloom is also an essential member of the cast, and while he doesn’t experiment with his character, Trojan Prince Paris, he is definitely not bad in the role. The ensemble’s work in Troy reflects the quality of the movie perfectly—technically proficient, but nothing to rave about.

     With a $175 million dollar budget, however, Troy is certainly a visual spectacle. If judged on entirely this aspect alone, it is an example of the perfect movie. The battles are swiftly crafted, featuring amazingly picturesque shots of masses of soldiers. However, unlike The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Troy doesn’t have the emotional resonance to allow the battles to feel triumphant. I did not care about a single character in the picture because there was not a single line of dialogue I connected with. Screenwriter David Benioff (25th Hour), who has always created wonderful, passionate, poetic talk, falls short in his script for this movie. A lot goes on in Troy, but it doesn’t seem so, because of the cold detachment which viewers will feel from the central story. There’s no one to root for, no character worthy of focusing on. Because of this, the execution is a very stark and the film feels somewhat unsettling to watch—certainly not its intent.

      The one element of director Wolfgang Petersen’s picture I really love is the pacing. While Troy could afford to chop a good twenty minutes off of its running length, the tempo and rhythm of it are incredibly well-handled. Not one scene is ever deliberately boring; despite treading on thin ice, the experience never tires. I could watch Troy for an eternity, simply staring at the rich and luscious colors of the screen, amidst a dazzling speed of conduction. I would never think it to be a fulfilling experience, though; it is an amazingly empty movie, in addition.

     I suppose that Troy is an okay way to spend an afternoon at the movie theatre. Since its grandness will only play well on a gigantic screen, I’d recommend seeing it during its run in multiplexes, rather than on DVD. All in all, it is actually a deserving film, and is perhaps much better than I’m making it out to be. But the whole experience was so goddamn disappointing for me, I almost think I would’ve been better off without it.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (5.17.2004)

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