Homer lite: How Troy was lost in less than three hours
You don't need to brush up on your Homer to get through Troy: Director Wolfgang Petersen and screenwriter David Benioff set the stage quickly in the film's first half hour. For those who dozed off during history class, Agamemnon (Brian Cox) has united all of Greece, except for Troy, in an uneasy alliance. Troy is ruled by Priam (Peter O'Toole), whose two sons, Hector and Paris (Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom), have just come to peace with Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), the ruler of Sparta. This alliance unravels when Paris makes off with Menelaus' wife, Helen (Diane Kruger). Now Agamemnon and Menelaus have the excuse they've needed to invade Troy. The success of their campaign depends on the participation of Achilles (Brad Pitt), a fierce warrior who despises his leader's methods.
Though clocking in at nearly three hours, Petersen keeps things moving at a breezy pace. Impressive computer-generated effects create convincing armadas and vast armies. Rough edges are hidden by fast pacing.
The cast puts on an acting clinic. Sure, there's awkward scene-chewing, but there are also moments of poignant subtlety. Bloom opts for melodrama where delicacy is required. Pitt can't decide whether to play Achilles straight or campy. There's no indecision on Cox's part: He instills Agamemnon with style, commanding the screen whenever he appears. However, the lion's share of praise here goes to Bana and O'Toole, who effectively underplay their roles and provide a sense of humanity amidst the spectacle that surrounds them. In their scenes, we come to recognize the human cost this conflict exacted.
What other critics are saying. . .
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The Passion of the Christ [R] Mel Gibson's version of the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ's life.White Oaks
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