Troy

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(2004) ★★★

Sky Movies Action/Adventure: Tuesday 24 November, 9.00pm

Hostilities between Sparta and Troy resumer when moony prince Orlando Bloom steals Spartan queen Diane Kruger away from king Brendan Gleeson. Bloom’s big brother Eric Bana fumes, but he’s protective. Gleeson has a powerful ally in his own big brother, Agammemnon (the ever-compelling Brian Cox), who’s out to control the Aegean and looking for an excuse to attack Troy. And Agamemnon has the formidable warrior Achilles leading his troops. Brad Pitt is the preening glory boy Achilles who, egged on by his mother, wants his name to last through the ages. “History remembers kings,” sneers Cox, “not soldiers.” The vast army’s approach to the high-walled gates of Troy is a truly frightening sight and – unlike Oliver Stone’s far more ambitious Alexander – Troy doesn’t stint on action.

The script is by David Beniof, gearing up for Game of Thrones. The clank and clunk of sword on shield, the thud and thunk of brutal close combat, the sinister hiss and swish of arrows and spears, crows cicling the blood and sand, funeral pyres flaring in the night sky – there’s a terrible beauty to such sights and sounds. As the sweep and scale of the spectacular battle scenes recall the epics of the 1960s, so does James Horner’s music hark back to El Cid and its ilk, especially in its more reflective moments.

(Gabriel Yared’s score was ditched for being ‘old-fashioned’ but that hardly explains the inclusion of an awful ballad, Remember, over the end credits.) What little humour there is in the picture is provided by Brian Cox, impeccable as an imperturbably corrupt commander who understands human nature only too well. Eric Bana’s Hector is the most noble figure but the most glamorous role – notwithstanding Diane Kruger’s rather pouty Helen – goes to Brad Pitt, of course. He plays Achilles as a primal force, a man whose appetites must be sated. Hector is a man of conscience. Achilles is a heel.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 156min

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Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Action/Adventure Sunday, 29 November at 6:00PM
Sky Movies Action/Adventure Monday, 30 November at 1:20AM