By Rebecca Redshaw
Going to movies – the ultimate escape. No senseless footage of death and destruction. No war fought for all the wrong reasons. No cadre of wise (?) men too old to do battle discussing all the reasons younger men should die for the honor of their country.
Wait a minute. These were all the things in the news I was going to the movies to escape! But Troy is far more entertaining than congressional hearings and/or the evening news.
It’s not Brad Pitt’s fault he’s prettier than any woman in the movie. The man is beautiful portraying, not Adonis, but Achilles in director Wolfgang Peterson’s extravaganza. He is one of the handful of movie stars that, regardless what manner of costume (tunic or tuxedo) or what hair length (preppie or ponytail), I always look at the screen and see Brad Pitt playing a part. And that’s not to say he’s not a good actor. He does his best in this epic (163 minute) tale with little dialogue and lots of fighting to hold it together.
Troy (and Pitt) work best when partnered with a strong nemesis. Australian Eric Bana as Hector delivers a believably strong, yet troubled, portrayal as the prince of Troy. He doesn’t act like a horndog straight out of junior high. That thankless role is played by a frail and feminine Orlando Bloom as Paris. Considering what Helen was used to in the boudoir, Paris would seem an apt alternative even if it meant the death of millions and the downfall of Troy. Peter O’Toole as the Trojan king wins the respect and admiration of Achilles in one of the few scenes that allow either actor to, well, act.
But alas, all is lost in the end. The bad guys die, the good guys die, and the viewer is left with the stark reality that even thousands of years ago, men fought senseless wars for stupid reasons.