Britain, A.D. 117. Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon. Written by
The Picts in the film are speaking Scots Gaelic. No written record of the Pictish language exists, but historians believe the modern language most similar to theirs is Welsh. However, director Neil Marshall thought viewers would be confused by a tribe in Scotland speaking Welsh. See more »
The Roman fort (at the end) would not have been located where it was, as it was too close to a forest from where archers could attack the fort without being exposed. See more »
Centurion Quintus Dias:
My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome, and this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.
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The end of the closing credits state that "This film is based on a 2000 year-old legend", referring to the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Hispana or Ninth Spanish Legion in Roman-occupied Britain around 117 CE. See more »
When the final credits were rolling my regular cinema-going counterpart observed "that was one of the most outwardly violent films I've seen since Kill Bill". That's not far from the truth. Limbs are hacked clean off, stomachs are regularly impaled and the claret fluid sprays endlessly. Though the major difference is where Tarantino's homage to the old chop-socky movies from Eastern cinema is cartoonish in its bloody visuals, Centurion is anything but tongue-in-cheek; here the blood, sweat and tears seep into the muddy vistas and bucolic rivers of Great Britain to intensify the atmosphere.
Director Neil Marshall (The Descent) has crafted a gritty movie that at its core is a simple 'cat and mouse' tale and a highly entertaining one at that but becomes much more thanks to the efficacious work from all the cast and crew. Marshall himself executes a few impressive sequences, the most outstanding being the initial ambush on the Ninth Legion, showing once again he knows how to stretch a small budget with minimalistic techniques and a passionate approach. Director of photography Sam McCurdy provides a suitably grimy and grainy look that, although at times is too dim, sets the ideal tone for the film. Perhaps Marshall should have monitored the editing closer though, Chris Gill's frenetic cutting very nearly ruins a couple of the fight scenes.
Major Hollywood star in the waiting Michael Fassbender (played the German-impersonating British Lieutentant in Inglourious Basterds) is undoubtedly the standout among the acting contingent. As the titular soldier, Fassbender makes for a charismatic leading man that convinces in both the physical and dramatic elements of the role. I eagerly wait to see what he does as the young Magneto in the upcoming X-Men prequel. Elsewhere The Wire alumni Dominic West is rough around the edges as the gruff General Virilus, Olga Kurylenko is positively bad-ass as the mute, monomaniacal warrior hell-bent on revenge and BBC favourite David Morrisey adds clout in his supporting role of Bothos.
A grubby, gory delight.
4 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)
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