Sunday, July 1, 2012

Troy (2004) [R] ****

This story has everything - warfare, passion, romance, lust, greed, betrayal, obsession and intrigue. Whether you're a student of Greek history and literature, or you feel a subtle connection to the ancient Greek world and the blue Aegean Sea, you won't want to miss this film.

Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger are well cast as Prince Paris of Troy and Queen Helen of Sparta. Their passionate love affair and flight from her husband Spartan King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), results in the launch of a thousand Greek ships and ignites the Trojan War. Eric Bana is compelling as noble Prince Hector of Troy, Paris' older and wiser brother. He knows that Paris and Helen's reckless action spells doom for Troy and its populace, including their father, the aged King Priam (Peter O'Toole) and Hector’s own wife Andromache (Saffron Burrows).

Menelaus wants war with Troy in order to restore the honor of Sparta, however, his power-hungry brother Mycenaean King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), sees an opportunity to expand his empire by destroying the city-state of Troy. But the heart of the epic is the story of Achilles, the independent-spirited, nearly-immortal Greek warrior, portrayed magnificently by Brad Pitt. Despite the warning of his mother, Thetis (Julie Christie) that he'll never return home, Achilles takes the counsel of his good friend Odysseus (Sean Bean) and, together with his Myrmidon warriors, joins the Greek fleet sailing for Troy.

Achilles starts the journey as a proud, arrogant warrior, willing to give his life to obtain eternal glory, but is gradually transformed after he rescues Briseis (Rose Byrne) who had left the Trojan royal court to become an Apollonian temple priestess. At first, Briseis is Achilles' prisoner, but later she becomes his lover. As Achilles' heart opens to Briseis, he begins to understand that there is much more to life than waging war. Achilles has decided to abandon the Trojan War and return home, but when his beloved young cousin Patroclus (Garrett Hedlund) impersonates Achilles and is killed by Hector, the grief-stricken Achilles must exact his revenge upon Hector in single warrior combat before the gates of Troy.

Based on The Iliad by Homer, the story features brilliant casting, a terrific screenplay, tight direction, outstanding production values and great special effects. The film is gorgeous in Blu-ray, and the 196 minute R-Rated Director's cut is the version to watch. 

Labels: action, adventure, drama, history, romance, tragedy, war
Internet Movie Database 7.2/10    
Metacritic 56/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=60, viewers=70)   

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