|Achilles Does the Washing Up
||[May. 28th, 2004|02:22 pm]
The thing to remember about Troy is that it's not the Iliad. Keep telling yourself that and you'll not be so disappointed.
It's not about the Bronze Age either. It's a modern story that utilises characters and situations from Homer (and Virgil etc) - a confident, well-crafted, good-looking epic that's rather less dumb than most.
You spend this much money and you have to compromise. The biggest compromise here is to inflate Briseis into a romantic heroine. I like Saffron Burrows- she's awfully cute and sparky- but she doesn't belong. It's bad enough that she turns Achilles into a new man, it's even worse that she gets to kill Agamemnon- a revision of legend which aborts the Oresteia.
But Brad Pitt (not my favourite actor) is rather magnificent. And Brian Cox and Brendan Gleeson are terrific as the Atridae. Then there's dear old Peter O'Toole thesping away as Priam. The least satisfactory of the central characters is Eric Bana's Hector- an Aragorn look-alike in a silly helmet that emphasizes his weak chin and pouting lips. It's a pity he gets killed, but I wasn't made to care. I cared more about Orlando Bloom's Paris, who is given an engaging story line as the coward who redeems himself (by exercising those archery skills he picked up in Loth Lorien.)
There are better films to be quarried out of the matter of Troy, but they'll be cheaper films. They won't contain magnificent computerized sets and battle sequences. You want a gay Achilles? You'll have to make do with an indie budget.