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:: Troy

With an extraordinary budget of close to $200million, a sense of grand scale is put to good use as director Wolfgang Peterson adapts Homer’s epic Trojan War tale, “The Iliad”, into a story of forbidden love, ego-minded decisions, and war. The story is told that the Greeks and Trojans are fighting over the love of a single woman, Spartan Queen Helen (Diane Kruger). She is so beautiful that her name inspired the Greeks to launch a thousand ships and 50,000 warriors to reclaim her from Paris (Orlando Bloom), the Prince of Troy, who stole her from her husband, Greek King, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson).

Ageing King Priam (Peter O’Toole) charges Hector (Eric Bana), brother of Paris, with the task of defending the city against the Greek armies. Bana gives a fine performance in depicting the humility, nobility, and fighting spirit of the character.

Director Peterson has engineered a big film and cast Brad Pitt as Achilles, the legendary Greek warrior. He feuds with Agamemnon (Brian Cox), the commander of the Greek armies, over the love of a slave girl Briseis (Rose Byrne), and refuses to join in the fighting. Achilles has disrespect for the Greek King’s objectives and methods. He has an allegiance to nobody and remains rebellious.

Some of the best scenes are the personal duels fought between the story’s star warriors. The famous fight between Hector and Achilles will stand out in the mind of the viewer. It is well choreographed and captures the tension extremely well.

“Troy” has good production values and the challenge of maintaining interesting characters is met impressively. Pitt and Bana are quite contrasting in performance. Pitt’s charisma is lasting and Bana fulfils a valued portrait of a hero. Peter O’Toole and Brian Cox are also enterprising in their roles. In fact, there is a good scene between O’Toole and Pitt late in the film, and the look on O’Toole’s face is simply fine acting. James Horner’s music also has the required strength and majesty for an epic picture.

Peterson has deliberately made a film about war that is not an action film. There is sparring use of the “spectacle” element, and the emphasis is fixed with the gruesome business of organised killing. It shows how people get sucked into wars against their better judgement. Homer’s epic poem is difficult to adapt into a commercial motion picture of two-to-three hours, but a very good job has been achieved.

Screening on general release

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