Sometimes you just want to watch a historical epic taking place in ancient times. A huge movie featuring a big budget, excellent visuals, and a formidable cast. You want to take that journey into the past but without any monsters or supernatural elements. Troy is such a movie, a phenomenal war epic with enough drama, thrills, and action to keep engaged for three hours. Yes, the director’s cut features a running time of just over three hours. And I guarantee you that you won’t be bored for a fucking minute. Not only is Troy a movie based on true events but it also features a story that still holds important and thought-provoking lessons for modern humanity.
The themes and the situations the movie explores are still relevant as they’re about human nature and relationships. Relationships between children and parents, brothers, friends, allies and enemies. And if you sprinkle a bit of love in the mix along with ambition, morality, and desire, you get a compelling story that will echo through eternity. Hell, the Greek poet Homer wrote the Iliad, upon which the movie Troy is based, in the eight century B.C. And ever since then, people have been fascinated by it. However, nothing can prepare you for the visual and emotional impact of this movie once it starts.
The immersion starts right away, while you’re watching that scene where a dog is roaming a bloody battlefield. I still don’t understand how they got him to do all those things. That dog deserves a fucking Academy Award, he was such a good boy. Although the first memorable scene most of us go to is the fight between Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Boagrius (Nathan Jones). Nathan is so fucking huge, a veritable giant who only looks human. A role he’s going to reprise some ten years later in Mad Max: Fury Road where he plays Ricktus.
It’s funny to think that Pitt was heavily criticized for his sullen performance here, which I thought was a perfect fit for his character. The same thing happened during the filming of Fury Road where Hardy didn’t get what the movie was about. Moving on, the cast in Troy was simply sublime although I have to single out Brian Cox as Agamemnon. This is the only role he ever pursued in his career and it fucking shows. He gave it everything and what we got in return was one of the best performances on film ever.
Eric Bana was also excellent along with Brendan Gleeson and the legend that is Peter O’Toole. Something that immediately prompts you to rewatch Lawrence of Arabia. Now that’s another sandy epic for all eternity. What we oftentimes forget is the sheer scale of some of these scenes. We have hundreds of extras all marching together and wearing historically accurate clothes and weapons.
The fight sequences are exciting, realistic, and most of all entertaining. It would appear that the early 2000s were the perfect time for these epics. First, we had Gladiator then The Lord of The Rings and now Troy, followed by Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. Although I shouldn’t forget to mention Braveheart and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, two nineties classics.
I applaud Wolfgang Petersen’s and David Benioff’s decision to keep the story in the movie Troy rooted in reality. There are no magical swords, arrows, or any of that shit. This makes the whole movie feel much more impactful and emotional. You can see how the same things are happening over and over again. And if the name David Benioff sounds familiar it’s because he’s one of the guys behind the Game of Thrones television show. And he brought Sean Bean with him.
As it usually happens with these timeless classics, I got carried away, ending up writing a lot of stuff and still feeling like I’ve only scratched the surface. There are so many potent and thought-provoking concepts in the movie Troy that I could spend the next ten paragraphs writing about them. There’s a reason why this movie is still in the IMDb’s Top 100 after almost 20 years. It’s always good for another viewing and each time feels just a little bit different. As you get older, certain scenes become more poignant and certain characters more relatable.
What remains the same is the sheer visual impact. By avoiding the overuse of CGI and focusing on building real sets, Troy can still rival modern historic epics. And I’m guessing Brad Pitt’s perfectly toned body also has something to do with this huge popularity. The man trained for six months to look like one of the Greek heroes and he fucking pulled it off. Brian Cox said this when he saw him on set in full costume: Wow, my God! This guy is stunning.
However, during the production he pulled off something else. He tore his Achilles tendon while playing Achilles. When you consider all of this, it’s easy to forget that this is a war movie. Yes, the war might be a bit older and there are no guns and tanks but the principle remains the same. And another there’s another thing that I think it’s important to keep in mind.
And that is the entirety of the events we see unfold in the movie Troy are all due to a single action and decision. While you might argue that something like this was inevitable, and you would be right, this is how it played out in real life. This single action changed the fates of thousands and subsequently millions of people. We can see how these particular characters are dealing with this situation and what are some of the decisions they make. And even here, there’s no right decision but only the one you eventually make. Just in real life…
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writers: Homer, David Benioff
Cast: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Brian Cox, Orlando Bloom, Brendan Gleeson, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Peter O’Toole
Fun Facts: Brad Pitt had to quit smoking during the production, something he did not like one bit.