Has the era of moral clarity been eclipsed by a season of moral obscurity? The popular "Lord of the Rings" was an epic clash between Good and Unmistakeable Evil suitable for George Bush. With "Troy", Hollywood delivers nuance and ambiguity sure to delight John Kerry.
When I was young, the Trojan War story was pretty simple - sly Trojans kidnapped Helen, and the brave, clever Greeks sailed off to bring her home and Punish the Evildoers.
The current movie, with Brad Pitt as Achilles, is more complicated. Among the Greek leaders, the only sympathetic figure is Odysseus, played by Sean Bean (Boromir from LOTR); the other Greek generals combine greed and vanity in different but unappealing measures.
On the Trojan side, however, Hector (Eric Bana) is a devoted father, a loving husband, a brave general, and a protective big brother - a Prince, actually. Paris, the younger brother who relies on his protection, is played by the engaging Orlando Bloom. Their father, Priam, the King of Troy (Peter O'Toole), is a kind and likeable old man with a deplorable tendency to ignore good advice.
Almost inevitably, one finds oneself rooting for the Trojans, right up until the time when our heros are killed, the city is burned, and the bad guys (well, excepting Odysseus) triumph.
I think this movie will be a big hit with Red Sox fans.
MORE: The flick is getting the thumbs down among the eighth and ninth grade set I surveyed. Well, I say that - I am pretty sure "ri-donk-ulous" is not the review to which the producers aspired. And this (paraphrased) soundbite from one of the young reviewers seems clear enough: "Brad Pitt was so over the top - he said every line like it was going to be in the commercial for the movie. Then he would turn and pose - I thought I was watching Zoolander." To which another unimpressed viewer responded, "Yeah, I kept waiting for him to say "Odyssesus, I turned left!"
Here is the NY Times.