Brad Pitt has been part of some awesome movies in the past with a resume that’s nearly unmatched in Hollywood. He’s been around for decades now and nearly everything he takes part in ends up being a winner. That being said, not many of his movies get that *epic* status. While he’s done some larger period pieces, it’s not necessarily his wheelhouse. But one such movie is out there and it’s somewhat easy to forget that he was part of it, to begin with. You have a chance to catch it on streaming with Troy free to watch on YouTube right now.
Troy sets about to tell a highly fictionalized version of Homer’s Iliad which in and of itself was already a load of fiction. But it’s the story of the Trojan War and all of the folks involved. The movie starts off with a relative bang when Brad Pitt arrives on the scene as Achilles. He stumbles into the middle of two armies at war, though in a standstill. It’s been determined that the two champions will settle it mano-y-mano with Achilles facing off against the much bigger and braun-ier Boagrius. Achilles makes comically quick work of the bigger soldier and we begin to understand that Pitt’s character might be more than meets the eye on the battlefield.
The rest of the story follows the elements of the Iliad and the Trojan War, diving into various aspects of Greek mythology. It has a number of different characters who are in conflict with each other. Some over unrequited love, actually a lot over unrequited love, but also around power and domination. It’s a winding tale that ultimately ends with war and the famous Trojan Horse. Brad Pitt as Achilles is part of the group who ultimately attacks Troy and his motivations are around, you guessed it, love. That’s just the way these things go.
Troy is a wide-ranging story that can become a bit confusing at times if you aren’t following closely. There are a number of different elements at play in this Greek tale, most of which revolve around the Greek powers led by Agamemnon wanting to take Tory for their own and to defeat Paris and the rest of Troy. At the center of the issue is Helen, who had once been the Queen of Sparta but is now the Princess of Troy. I told you that these things usually come down to love. And this plays itself out in the fighting, which Brad Pitt owns the day in until he doesn’t.
The cast of Troy was a veritable who’s-who of A-list talent at the time. Of course, Brad Pitt makes his presence felt early as Achilles. He’s joined by a bunch of others including Orlando Bloom as Paris of Troy, Eric Bana as Hector, Brian Cox as Agamemnon, Sean Bean as Odysseus, Dian Kruger as Helen, Rose Byrne as Briseis, Garret Hedlund as Patroclus, Brendan Gleeson as Menelaus, and the great Peter O’Toole as Priam, the King of Troy.
The creatives behind Troy were top notch and it’s easy to see why they were able to get Brad Pitt and company on board. It is directed by Wolfgang Peterson who had previously filmed In the Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm, Outbreak, and Air Force One. And handling the script was then a relatively unknown writer named David Benioff. He’d go on to do some more movies and then get some big-time recognition for a plucky little production called Game of Thrones on HBO.
That being said, for all of it’s great casting (Brad Pitt included), epic story line steeped in mythology and awesome creative team, the film didn’t exactly crush it with critics. It’s sitting at just 54% on Rotten Tomatoes and 56 on Metacritic. Most thought it was simply too over-the-top from the set pieces to the costumes. And though the cast is A-list, the script didn’t allow for them to shine.
But the film did earn a tidy sum at the box office, taking in close to $500 million in ticket sales on its $175 million budget. From that perspective, it was a win though for as big as this flick was when it came out, it’s mostly forgotten now. But you have a chance to watch it for free, and really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity.