‘Women have a way of complicating things,’ observes Odysseus (Sean Bean), in the only moment of understatement in the otherwise grandiose scale of Wolfgang Petersen’s $200m plus epic Troy. It’s within the towering walls of the ancient city that lovers Paris (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger) flee to avoid the attentions of her husband Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) and his all conquering brother Agamemnon (Brian Cox). Bringing a girl back to the homestead can be a fraught experience, and Paris’ brother Hector (Eric Bana) and father Priam (Peter O’Toole) are less than enthused by the young prince’s choice. Complications and bloodshed ensue.

Confused? You won’t be, to the considerable credit of established helmer Petersen and screenwriter David Benioff (25th Hour), who have managed to boil down Homer’s The Iliad into a reflection on father/son love and betrayal. Benioff’s literate, anachronistic dialogue trips easily from the mouths of a well chosen cast, with Bloom as weedy as ever, Bana pragmatism personified and old-stagers such as Julie Christie making the most of brief cameos.

But despite the stupefying scale of the battle scenes, the real star is Brad Pitt as the warrior’s warrior Achilles, Agamemnon’s weapon of mass destruction. He cuts a homoerotic dash as he slices and dices his way through the Trojan armies.

Pitt hasn’t had a decent part for years, restricting his output to second banana roles (Ocean’s Eleven) or extended cameos (Fight Club, 12 Monkeys), but he shoulders the burden of Troy and works like the proverbial Trojan to pull the film together. In the best scene, O’Toole’s Priam, eyes red with mourning, sneaks into Pitt’s tent to beg for burial

rights for the son that Pitt has just slain. At the mention of his father, Pitt drops his impassive expression in seconds, his eyes welling up with tears as his face becomes that of a lost child; it’s the pivotal moment of the film, and Pitt just about makes the transition play.

Like its hero, Troy is not without flaws - the range of accents on show is bewildering, with Scots fighting on both sides and Irish, American and Australian voices scattered throughout. Although it would seem uncharitable to criticise the source material, once Homer’s The Iliad has been


A couple drrve through the lranran countryside on a relrgrous prlgrrmage when suddenly an accrdent forces them to hang around rn the rnrddle of nowhere. Thrs allows drrector Alrre/a Rarsrn rTlie Journeyr to study how hrs characters; react to dead time. wltrle warfrng for therr car to be reparred.

ere Rossellrnr's great marrtal drscord frlrn. Voyage to Italy. we see how rrfts appear as trme encroaches upon them rn contrngent ways. The wrfe resolves the problem gurte practically (and even ernotronally rewardrngly). by helping out wrth the local krds rn the nearby vrllage school. The husband's more grven to waitrng for hrs car to be frxed.

26 THE LIST lit 1) r' Mag, QUE.

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and then there appears to be a brgger gap in her life than in the husband's. as she clearly desires kids.

Based on a treatment by Abbas Kiar‘ostamr (Ten). thrs may lack the complex. paradoxical nature of the master's script directorial work as rt predicates the wife's melancholia and the husband's rrritatron on farrly accessible motivations. But this is very frne. humanist filrnrnakrng made wrth care and. as with much Iranian cinema. visual precision. Some of the framing may lend itself to the visual equivalent of the psychology, lending rtself too easrly to the symbolrc. but rt's beautiful nevertheless.

(Tony McKibbin,

I Fr/rnliouse. Ed/nburgli fro/n Sat 15 May. GFT. Glasgow from Hr 28 May.

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modernised and bastardised into a let century blockbuster, the characters end up eliminating each other with schematic predictability. And without giving too much away, any story that revolves around the construction of a large wooden horse isn’t about to spring many surprises for audiences. But with super-sized set pieces, pumped up direction and a matinee-idol performance, Troy is easily a worthy successor to Gladiator in the epic action stakes.

(Eddie Harrison)

I General release from Frr 2] (Way.

The devrls rn drr'ector Chrrstophe Ruggia's bleakly powerful drama are tearaway tots Joseph rVrncent Rottrers) and his autistrc srster Chloe (Adele Haenel). On the run from a serres of care homes. the maladjusted pro-teen Bonnre and Clyde burn a trail of destruction through the French countrysrde as Joseph hopelessly tries to coax hrs psycltologically trOubled sister back to normal.

Charged with two staggerrngly intense performances from its young stars rboth making their debut film appearances). Ruggia delivers a grrttrly real socral drama Wrthout ever descending into tabloid sensatronalism. Little Rottrers plays Joseph wrth all the street-smarts and tough swagger of a mini Vincent Cassel. hrs eyes burnrng with inartrculate rage while his fists flurry with pain and hopelessness. Yet even his remarkable performance can't upstage Haenel's obsessrve shrieking

‘Rarn Girl' Chloe.

Eschewrng a clamourrng political agenda. thrs fatalistrc portrait of kids of the run and hormones on the rampage takes a series Of dark turns. As the mother who abandoned both chrldren on the streets of Marseilles arrrves with some startling news. Joseph's burnrng rage frnally escapes his control. Torturously awkward

sexual furnblrngs and an rnevrtably tragrc explosion of violence are the glun‘. result. As exhausting as rt rs exhilarating. it's a grim character study of two abandoned children convrnced they have nothing left to lose. A blrsterrng drama ripped from the headlines and dropped bloody and still beatrng on our crnernatic plates. Les Drab/es is an inescapany small film but also undenrably powerful one.

(Jarnre Russell)

I GFT. Glasgow from Tue l8 May. Fr/mlrouse. Edinbuglr from Frr l .7 June.

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