Troy. Warner Bros, 2004. Dir. Wolfgang Peterson. Perf. Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Peter O'Toole, Diane Kruger.
Biting the thumb at traditional Homeric plot, language, and ideologies, Troy manages to present a cinematographically excellent film surrounded by a brilliant score that would have been brilliant as an early-twentieth-century silent film. Unfortunately, characters such as Achilles (Pitt) and Hector (Bana) are hampered by stilted dialogue and shallow motivations, while Paris (Bloom) and Helen (Kruger) manage to drown their scenes in stiff romantic mush. Any semblance of reality in the film stems from its three sex scenes, which have all the drama and intrigue of traditional Hollywood affairs.
The defining performance belongs to Bana, who manages to fill a poorly scripted role with unexpected strength and humanity. Unfortunately, in true epic style, the camera rarely gives viewers close glimpses into Hector's life or passions, so Bana's striking performance remains rough around its edges. Similarly, Hector's character is one of the few who meets a Homeric ending, as David Benioff manages to contort the Iliad nearly beyond recognition into a predictably ahistoric Hollywood ending.
End results? Fans of Homer will be frustrated by the script's extreme liberties, while viewers who have never read the Iliad will be confused by the rapid plot, poorly introduced characters, and generic themes. The cinematography, sound, and film editing are worth watching, but are among the only redeeming aspects of the film overall.