Long before Brad Pitt was a stunt double in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood and before his custody battle with Angelina Jolie, the high-profile actor was in a historical epic called Troy. The film depicted a dramatized version of Homer’s epic poem The Iliad. Featuring notable mythological figures such as Achilles, Helen of Troy, and Agamemnon, the film employed just as many famous actors. Brad Pitt portrayed Greek warrior Achilles who challenges Trojan Prince Hector (Eric Bana) after the death of his cousin Patroclus. Fans can now relive all the glory of the 2004 film when it hits Netflix on January 1st, 2022.
The streaming platform will be releasing many epics next month. Troy will also be joined by Zack Snyder’s breathtaking film 300 on Netflix. Both films are based on historical events, but are more inspired by mythology. The film version of Troy depicted a more realistic view of Troy’s conflict with the Greeks while the poem itself involved Gods and Goddesses meddling with humans. Brad Pitt portrays arguably the main character Achilles, though there are many actors in the ensemble cast. The main conflict of the film erupts when Paris (Orlando Bloom) catches sight of Helen of Troy (Diane Kruger). Helen is already married to King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), though admittedly unhappy. Paris steals Helen to the horror of his brother Hector. Though Helen comes willingly, that matters very little to King Menelaus. The king wages war against Troy to get Helen back, which drags elite fighter Achilles into the fray.
Troy runs an impressive 2 hours and 42 minutes, though audiences should be used to that with recent Marvel films. The film also has another claim to fame. The writer of the movie is none other than David Benioff who would later become notable for his partnership with D.B. Weiss. Together, they are known for adapting A Song of Ice and Fire (via Vanity Fair).
The cast of Troy is just as impressive. Alongside Brad Pitt and Eric Bana the movie also includes Rose Byrne, Brian Cox, and Sean Bean. In addition to the famous actors was the large budget. While Troy might look beautiful with its breathtaking visuals and choreographed battle scenes, the film was not always loved.
Currently the film has a respectable 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, though critics panned it with a score of 54%. Audiences have clearly liked the movie much better than professional critics. Upon release, Troy did relatively well with $45.6 million at the box office (via Entertainment Weekly). Though Brad Pitt wasn’t enough to compete with its competition Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman. In the grand scheme of things, neither film will be remembered for being notable classics.Though, now, Brad Pitt fans will be able to check out the movie for themselves on Netflix.
Troy was the classic tale of a hero’s journey. And even the star himself admits that he had some issues with connecting to the material. In 2019, Brad Pitt acknowledged that his contribution to the film was more out of obligation than anything else. Indie Wire reported the actor’s reluctance. “I had to do ‘Troy’ because — I guess I can say all this now — I pulled out of another movie and then had to do something for the studio,” said Pitt.
The actor went on to say that he didn’t agree with the direction of the film. He felt as though Achilles was being framed as too heroic and there was no nuance. After his experience, Brad Pitt went on to make films that meant something to him and worked with some of the best directors. He has worked with Quentin Tarantino on occasion as well as Terrance Malick and the Coen Brothers. No one can doubt Pitt’s dedication to his craft.
And while it may be trendy to criticize Troy, there are many critics who appreciate the film. Not as a masterpiece of great proportion, but an enjoyable cinematic experience which to some is just as important a distinction. Rich Knight wrote in Cinema Blend that Troy is one of their favorite films. And looking at their reasoning, it’s hard to disagree. Brad Pitt may have detested the experience, but there is no doubt that he was a great Achilles. He demonstrated the right amount of morality and strength that the character required.
Though it is a shame that Brad Pitt never got to demonstrate the queer reading for Achilles and Patroclus which is glossed over in the film, Troy has a lot to offer as historical epics are considered. And maybe most important of all, there is finally a live-action adaptation to the story of The Trojan Horse. The Trojan Horse is often used as a metaphor and finally audiences can see it in real time. Troy may not be considered a masterpiece in the near future, but in many ways, it doesn’t matter. The film has something for everyone and fans will be able to enjoy it when it hits Netflix on New Year’s Day.