Troy

Das Boot director Wolfgang Petersen swaps the boots for sandals in this 2004 epic based on Homer’s Iliad but closer in quality to that Carol Ann Duffy poem about David Beckham.

Good “blocking”.

One of several post-Gladiator sword-and-sandals movies (Kingdom of Heaven, Alexander, that sword-and-sandals version of Robin Hood), Troy boasts some impressive battles without enough Trojan Horse action to glue it together. The script by Game of Thrones‘ David Benioff lifts lines directly from Gladiator and keeps having to explain how high the stakes are because they’re not dramatically apparent. The film is padded out to over three hours by static talking scenes between insipid, horribly acted characters, trading hack dialogue like: “Your glory walks hand in hand with your doom.”

This is a deeply confused film. It presents Achilles (Brad Pitt) as a hero despite his portrayal as a Top Gun-style prick fighting solely for glory, and the movie is mostly an excuse to show off every part of his body except his gammy heel. The Trojan War is spoken of in grand terms but boils down to a shallow, indulgent and avoidable squabble over the literal ownership of a woman (Diane Kruger), while the inclusion of sex slavery does little to help engender sympathy towards this oddly bland and overcrowded cast of heroes; Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana deliver performances more wooden than the horse itself.

At least Pompeii had the decency to incessantly discuss the volcano; here the Trojan Horse is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, as though the film is embarrassed by it. It should be embarrassed by everything else.

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