Movie Poster
Wolfgang Petersen
Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean
165 min.


It is a shame the acting isn't better, it might have hidden the fact that the writing and the direction are so bad.

Actually, the direction is just flagrantly Hollywood standard epic battle direction. Plus inexplicable slow-motion semi-freeze-frames on the actors' faces at the ends of certain scenes. The cinematography relies too heavily on shakey hand-held camera during the battle scenes to provide the feeling of confused excitement. And some of the CGI is inconvincingly integrated with the real actors and sets. Other than that, the direction is fine, if flagrantly unremarkable.

The writing is pretty cheesy. They basically get by on having a good story to begin with, and hope they have enough fighting that people don't notice the awkward dialogue. After you get into it, you hardly notice, though.

So, the actors. They certainly assembled a crack cast. And they deliver pieces of good performances, but much of the time they seem crushed under the mass of the picture and its self-consciously epic status. The interaction between Brad Pitt's Achilles and Eric Bana's Hector is interesting. Brad Pitt, apparently, was a big fan of Bana in Chopper* and always wanted to do a movie with him. You get the feeling that they, Peter O'Toole and Sean Bean all had good performances somewhere in there, but you can't quite see them.

Of course, Troy is all about the battles. And they are pretty good. Aside from the maddening cinematography which seems specially designed to not let you figure out what is happening at any given time, or how it relates to what else is happening, anyway. The first attack on the city, in which the Greeks are massacred by the archers, is pretty entertaining. In fact all of the battles involving Hector are pretty classy, mostly, again, because of the source material, but everyone involved in the film devoted the most effort to these scenes, too.

*Chopper is good. Rent it.

Pat Jackson