By : Brendan Howard | Posted: 02 Nov 2008
Prebook 11/4/08; Street 12/2/08
Rated ‘R’ for some violence and language.
Stars Paul Gross, Tom Skerritt, Greta Scacchi.
The Trojan Horse is brain candy for fans of political thrillers and conspiracy theories. At an epic four hours, this Canadian miniseries is almost too much of a good thing — but not quite. It follows events after the diabolical plot by a Canadian politician to rise to power and push Canada into becoming part of the United States.
If that idea doesn’t get you interested, get this: That politician (played so charismatically and believably by Paul Gross) is part of a sinister, bloody plot to overthrow the new Canadian-American government. The current American president (Tom Skerritt) is a morally dubious, God-obsessed, Machiavellian who, like a darker George W. Bush, is hunting for a pretext — real or imagined — to invade Saudi Arabia to keep its oil away from the aggressive Chinese.
These two heads of state clash while a spree of bloody murders by assassins and counter-intelligence agents rages in countries around the globe. The villains chew the scenery here.
The film’s less-engaging plot strand is the protagonist’s tale. A reporter (Greta Scacchi) whose son is killed in the crossfire of political murders won’t rest until she’s figured out the truth of these world-spanning plots. Scacchi tries to hit all the important notes — love for her son, fear of killers, touches of romance with a CIA assassin — but it just never comes together.
But that’s OK. Viewers will love to hate the villains in The Trojan Horse and want to see them undone, even if they don’t feel enough sympathy and connection to the intrepid reporter to feel there’s a solid protagonist. They’ll still be captivated by the complex yet logical revelation of motives, methods, and the maddening cruelty of those in power.