Troy's Achilles heel

Culture | Movie Review

Issue: "Memorial Day 2004," May 29, 2004

Not the right movie for a field trip from a classical Christian school, Troy nevertheless is not-always-clean fun. Sweeping in parts, cheesy in others, the sword-and-sandal epic would have been better had it focused on Hector (Eric Bana), a prince torn between family loyalty and what he knows is both principled and practical.

Not always faithful to Homer, Troy (based largely on The Iliad) in one sense is: many characters swirl in and out. That leaves it inferior in cinematic intensity to the last big movie set in the Greco-Roman world, Gladiator.

Brad Pitts's Achilles is too likable-he should have been played as a bratty brute-and the only character we can love to hate is Agamemnon (Brian Cox), whose power-hungry villainy steals scenes. Peter O'Toole does well as King Priam, pleading with Achilles for his son's corpse so that he can conduct proper burial rites.

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That concern for ritual points out the film's lack: Homer's Trojan War was very much faith-based, with Troy relying on Apollo and the Greeks on several dozen other mythological gods, but that crucial context is largely ignored.

Parents should keep in mind bloody fighting scenes and two bed scenes in which private parts are barely kept private and illicit sex is made to look good: Troy is rated R. But the language is clean, and those who like summer epics and can tolerate Hollywood's typical spices will probably enjoy this one.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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