Monday, November 29, 2004

Movie Review: Troy

It got panned by the critics, but I found Troy an engaging watch. True, it didn't have the 'epic' feel you got from Lord of the Rings, but it opened to me - and probably to many others - a world that would otherwise remain locked up in archaic language in a dusty book.

To get the criticisms out of the way first, yes, it doesn't follow Homer's Iliad accurately. And yes, the character acting could be a bit better - a bit deeper.

Having said that, I think Brad Pitt (Achilles) and Eric Bana (Hector) did a great job portraying these legendary enemies. And from what I've read about the Iliad, the relationship between these two is faithful to Homer (d'oh!).

Relating this to leadership, the subject of our blog, let's look at the two mens' leadership styles:

Achilles - the charismatic leader. His passion is getting the job done with flair. Making history, and being in it. "Immortality - it's yours. Take it!"

The Achilles style of leadership inspires, sets an example, and pushes his men beyond their limits. It's thoroughly goal-oriented.

By its very nature the Achilles style is short term - yet it is encouraged especially in high-pressure industries, such as sales, where the structures are built for long-term.

This style is suited to quick-burst, project-based activity, yet often the Achilles type personality is milked until the person is exhausted and burnt out. Just think of the army vets who, outside of the system and routine - and inspiration - of the army, waste away.

Hector on the other hand is almost a reluctant leader. His heart is at home with his wife and son. He is responsible, cautious but courageous when he sees an opportunity.

One of his greatest pieces of advice in the movie was ignored when he warned the Trojans not to pursue the Greeks, because it was unnecessary. (Now's where I wish I'd paid more attention to the details!) The military lesson of knowing where to stop is an important one.

How many of us know when to stop, regroup and establish our position? This is especially important financially. This time last year I was suffering because I'd assumed the blessings of October and November would continue into December. They didn't - and I found myself out on a limb, and had to back down from expansion in my business.

Or take Donald Trump - in the early 90s he had it made, in every way. But by not knowing how to consolidate, he overextended his resources. One of his companies is now bankrupt.

In most ways, Hector seems to me to be the better leader of the two. But it was Achilles' passion that won out in the end. Perhaps there's something in that.


At 12:07 AM, Blogger Borscht said...

Pensive post, Simeon. Mightily so. Kudos from the funky House of Groove.

But... I'm going to give this the "royal" treatment.....

Seems as though your noble Count here has much to say about plenty. Much ado here in your script, bub.

Hector's attitude was perhaps sagacious in light of what he had to fall back on (i.e. Troy being impervious to defeat) -- again, this another onion-skin on your time-based analysis.

Here's what I mean...

Say, for example, you could fall back on a 'complacent-non-Achilles-like' attitude for a longish, but indefinite, period of time.

Going deeper still ---> You could live comfortably in this risk-averse state of affairs, but eventually you'd have to "face the music" from change.

Flipside --> Or you could take the "Achilles route" and make things happen TODAY, in a somewhat more reckless fashion. But at least you knew things could change dramatically if your plan was eventfully successful.

Summation --> So was the city of Troy impervious to change?...perhaps this was dear Hector's thinking -- he probably felt Troy was monolithic and unswerving. Nothing could fuck with it, if you'll pardon my Tongan. In this light, I can dig what he was up to.

But like the rest of history -- garnichts is permanent BUT change.

I don't know if pulling back Hector-style is always the best approach bro -- sometimes raising the stakes and landing on the other side is frequently a good friggin' strategy -- there are countless exmaples of both the good and the bad of this. Yet...I GROOVE the risk.

Reticence and tentativeness has their time and place.

Recklessness and fancy-freedom are also a propos if you know in advance what are your potential upsides *und* downsides (hey, I am a 'von' as you know).

Does this make any sense? (Otherwise my fingers were pounded into nubs for nada!)

-- Count von Groovy

p.s. Homer is cool -- but he's never going to get the flash car, and the booty. What the hell's it worth if you can't make a game out of it? I do.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Count, Count, Count ... you've got me all wrong. You're seeing black when I'm saying 80% gray...

I don't see Hector as risk-averse and reactionary, nor do I see him as believing that Troy was invincible. He saw that it wasn't, while those around him believed it was. He sounded caution. He knew that life was a marathon, not a sprint.

Achilles, on the other hand, was in it for the sprint. At least at the outset. Later events caused him to stumble, and not be so hot for 'immortality', but rather to see what could be his right now - love, family, etc. But by then it was too late.

Hey but I do agree with this:

Recklessness and fancy-freedom are also a propos if you know in advance what are your potential upsides *und* downsides (hey, I am a 'von' as you know).

Ja man. With you there.


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