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Great film, badly reviewed.
This is in direct response to davidfurlotte's fairly asinine 'review'.....
First of all, if you're going to claim to be an authority on these things, do some research. In practically every interview, Marshall made it very clear that the film was based on a myth, a legend, nothing more. He never once tried to claim that this was in any way a true story.
Also, where did you get that his Dad is a history professor?! He said his Dad loved history, and that's all. Again, do your research.
Finally, did you actually watch the battle? The Romans were stretched out in a long column for miles, surrounded on both sides. How do you move out of the way of fireballs when you've got men on both sides of you who are also trying to get out of the way of fireballs? You just end up with men piling into each other, utter chaos, and still achieving what the Picts intended in the first place, which was to break the Roman line. And since the Romans where back to back, if you did get out of the way, you're just allowing the fireballs to rolls into the backs of the troops defending the opposite flank. With that many fireballs coming in from both sides, into a densely packed column of Romans, there simply wasn't anywhere for them to go. The Romans were trained to hold the line. That's where their strength lay, in discipline and formation, and this is how the Picts (and the Germanic tribes) used their biggest strength against them.
The reason I defend this film is because I worked on it myself. And if it made a few mistakes along the way, like using the wrong kind of spears, I know it's because the budget was so tight they couldn't afford enough Pilum's for the number of troops they had. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it's absolutely true. This films entire budget was about the size of the costume department budget on Gladiator!
To make another simple comparison, on Braveheart they had 7 weeks to shoot just the Battle of Stirling. On Centurion we had 7 weeks to shoot the entire film, battles included. For the scene involving the fireballs, we had 3 days. So it's to be expected that through the almost constant barrage of compromise, a few factual mistakes may slip through the net. As filmmakers we do take exceptional pride in our work, and we'd love to have the time and the money to get everything absolutely perfect, but that's just not the reality of low budget filming in the UK. In the end, we do our best with what we've got.