Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Peter O'Toole, Brian Cox, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Rose Byrne



Troy - the big 'summer blockbuster'? Well no, as it's not summer yet, but maybe the 'spring blockbuster'. I went to see Troy fully expecting to be bored to tears as I have never been a Pitt fan and I don't get turned on by endless battle scenes like the average member of the opposite sex. However, I am a fully fledged Orlando fan and I like ancient legends and have always wanted to be able to plough through the Iliad. I underwent an utter conversion to Pitt fandom as soon as that amazing but rare smile peaked out from under the mop of Achilles' gorgeous blond hair; but more to the point I was quite simply blown away by the whole film. There is no clear-cut good and evil in this epic war torn tale: many of the characters on both 'sides' are  loveable and justifiable. This is quite different to watching battles aplenty between the Lord of the Rings' invisible essence of evil and the quakingly heroic essence of good. The fact that you are not on either side makes the film infinitely more interesting and engrossing.

Eric Bana as Hector stole the show for me despite the presence of both Pitt and Bloom. If there is a force for the cause of good, Hector is it, and he is perfect in his honour-bound fairness, loyalty and emotional strength. Of course he looks nothing like Orlando, playing his brother Paris, but who would want to be associated with such a wuss? I actually feel Paris wasn't quite wimpy enough to be dislikeable but that may just be the fact that this is Orlando, the king of the empowered Adonis-like hero role. Fundamentally Paris is just a lover rather than a fighter; it's unfortunate he is a prince and has to feign honour and dignity after stealing Helen (the rather bland but incredibly beautiful Diane Kruger) from Menelaus, brother of the only identifiable source of evil, Agamemnon. As a huge XMen fan it was not hard for me to hate Brian Cox's Agamemnon after his stint as Stryker, but fair dues, he plays menacing greed and obsession admirably efficiently.

Peter O'Toole as old king Priam was just adorable and didn't everyone just want to give him a hug for nearly the whole length of the film, trying to do his best given the worst son and the nicest enemy ever seen? Meanwhile, Priam's captive niece Briseis falls for Achilles, making her the envy of the majority of the audience, but she is a tragic heroine; touchingly portrayed by Rose Byrne. To everyone's amusement Sean Bean as Odysseus breaks the mould of his usual screen characters and does not go down under a flurry of arrows... (which I suppose was evident to anyone who realised that the Odyssey is somewhat a sequel to the Iliad) ...which leaves the big battles and well-known Trojan horse debacle to carry off the rest of this acutely wonderful retelling of Homer's epic masterpiece. The silent slow motion sequence through the slaughter would have been a fitting end had it not been for the ever present annoyingly droning music, but all in all a very nicely produced film which lives up to its claims and, drawing both tears and laughter, is in no way a disappointment,


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