Monday, July 26, 2004

Article in The Hindu

Outlook India is running an article of mine. It is a review of the movie "Troy". A short extract from the article is below. Click through for the full version.
Where Troy fails is in its depiction of the war. The audience walks away with an impression of a quick, short war, but the Trojan War was a draining, dirty, blood-soaked affair fought over ten years. While the Iliad tried to glorify its heroes, we also see in it scenes of utter despair ("My friend is dead, Patroclus, my dearest friend of all. I loved him, and I killed him."), of disease ("So [Apollo] struck the Greek camp with plague, And the soldiers were dying"), of mass death on the front-lines ("You could hear their screams as they floundered And were whirled around in the eddies.") and of sadistic, blatant and wanton abuse ("[Achilles] pierced the tendons above the heels and cinched them with leather thongs to his chariot"). The Trojan War ultimately became - one hates to use the Q word - a quagmire.
Another version of this article appeared in the Hindu.
The Trojan War was not won in a matter days, and it was not a pretty, glowing sight. It was a dirty, blood-soaked war, fought over 10 years. Homer certainly took liberties with his depiction of the reality of his time, but in his depiction of the war, he does not merely look at the glory and the kleos. He looks also at the horror of war and the sheer pathos. The Iliad remembers the war as one of much sorrow, of disease, of mutilation and of mass death.
"Troy" is an adaptation: it has adapted the story of the war for the American public, but it is not honest to the story it is trying to tell. It masks ambition and arrogance with talk of patriotism and victory. It ignores questions about the morality of warfare, and it glosses over the pain and brutality of war, but if you are looking for some uncomplicated stuff, it will do the job.
Something tells me President Bush is going to love this one. These are, after all, his own tricks in the game.
Update : Updated post with article from the Hindu.