Based on Homer’s The Iliad – one of the most famous tales ever told – Troy has all the usual Hollywood epic ingredients.
An American hero with bulging biceps sporting an odd accent, a supporting cast of British character actors who routinely show him up – especially Peter O’Toole who brings some real humanity to his somewhat underwritten role – and a soundtrack of the usual faux-folk warbling and penny whistles that seem to mean “ye olden days” to American audiences. Brian Cox is also good fun as the megalomaniacal king and Orlando Bloom’s fresh-faced vulnerability that I find usually compromises him in leading roles actually works to his advantage here. All of the characters are just stereotypical “heroes” with little insight or depth but it has a sense of spectacle that reminded me of the kind of old school historical adventures that pleasantly pass rainy Sunday afternoons. The fact is your enjoyment of this film is entirely dependent on whether or not you can swallow Brad Pitt as an ancient Greek hero and I have to say as ridiculous a casting choice it was, he does bring a lot of presence and charisma to the part.
Troy is no Gladiator but compared to dimwitted trash like Clash Of The Titans, it’s a masterpiece.