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Feature: Troy

“They’ll Never Fall For This...”

Horsing around

An everyday story of Greek folk… with a breath-taking cast, big budget, stacks of action and sunny locations, will Troy be the biggest flick of 2004?

Boy meets girl. Boy steals girl away from hubby. Hubby gets a bit annoyed and rains down 10 years of war on their heads and then pulls a very smart trick with a comedy giant horse. How many times have we seen that story? Well, not too many, but in May 2004 you won’t be able to move for togas, sandals, rippling biceps and leading men in skirts in Troy, Wolfgang Petersen’s take on Homer’s tales The Odyssey and The Iliad. Gods not included.

A lot of attention has been focused on Troy for fair reasons or foul. It has a budget gossiped to be in the region of $180 million but, even though it was co-financed with Warner Bros, Village Roadshow apparently suffered financial problems that cast doubts on its involvement in the project. Unsurprisingly, media attention focused on the tragedy of an extra dying after an accident on set.

But filming continued. Now there are reports that Troy has an epic feel of movie days gone by. It’s rumoured to feature one of the biggest sets ever seen in a film, and to say that director Petersen’s assembled cast is a testosterone-charged pantheon of Hollywood A-list talent is something of an understatement.

Taking the lead is Brad Pitt, ably filling the sandals of Achilles, leader of the Greek armada, although flying specially to Britain to have your roots done because you’re scared of sun damage caused in the Maltese location isn’t what you’d ?? ? call method acting. Leader of Troy’s home team army is Hector, played by Eric Bana. And do you know something? You won’t like him when he’s… Oh, forget it!

The cause of all this trouble (and they should know better) are the tragic lovers Paris and Helen. Orlando Bloom continues to bring new meaning to the word ‘ubiquity’ as Paris (and very pretty he looks too in a skirt), alongside the relatively unknown Diane Kruger as Helen (of Troy, naturally).

In among the Hollywood youngsters you’ll find a crop of heavyweight British thespians, from Bloom’s Lord of the Rings colleague Sean Bean as Odysseus to Brian Cox as Agamemnon.

Aside from the talent on offer, Troy is likely to score high on the visuals, and not just rippling biceps. Petersen has an epic sweep that is rarely bettered, and the battle scenes featured are likely to make the scraps in Gladiator look like a tussle after closing time down at the Dog and Duck.

by Mark Wright

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Jan), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jan)
#639, January 2004
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