Centurion Review – Neil Marshall’s New Film Starring Michael Fassbender & Olga Kurylenko
Make no mistake about it, Centurion is a man’s movie, the type of man that would chuckle if a woman didn’t pick the iron when playing Monopoly, lucky enough I am that sort of man! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Centurion possesses all the key ingredients to tickle a man’s fancy – epic beards, dangerous women, swords, dirt, chases, decapitations, a band of brothers spirit, harsh wilderness and excess blood and guts. If you’re stimulated by decapitated heads in particular, this is a must!
Centurion is based on the legend of the 9th Legion, an army of 3000 Roman warriors who vanished without trace, Centurion is the tale of their conflict with their adversary, the Picts. Michael Fassbender is brilliant in the lead role as Quintus Dias a Roman corporal. Quintus is taken hostage by the Pict King, Gorlacon and the 9th are charged with bringing him home and ending Pict domination of Britain. Led by General Virilus (Dominic West – sporting a rather epic beard) and guided by a Pict prisoner and warrior named Etain (Olga Kurylenko – who does a great job as the main protagonist without even saying a word). But as they usually do, things go wrong when the legion is ambushed and Virilus is taken captive. Quintus and a handful of surviving soldiers (which include Noel Clarke, Riz Ahmed, David Morrissey, Liam Cunningham and JJ field) face a desperate struggle to keep themselves alive behind enemy lines, evading the Pict pursuers over harsh terrain, and in an attempt to rescue their General, then finally reaching the safety of the Roman frontier.
Neil Marshall has done a great job writing and directing this brutal and exhilarating film, visually Centurion is stunning and the characters are meaty and well developed, I actually felt for them, I felt hungry when they were hungry and I felt cold when they were cold (which looked like pretty much the whole time). I’ve been a fan of all of Neil Marshall’s films (yes even Doomsday – hold back the stones), when watching his work it always comes across to me that he’s a true fan of the genre of film he’s making, Centurion is no exception.
As much as I enjoyed the film, it did have a couple flaws, there were parts that were a bit incoherent – how did Quintuis escape the Picts at the start? What bright spark thought it would be a good idea to use Etain as a scout? It started off badly as well, the font used for the titles looked like it was made for a 13 year old’s media project, it completely distracted me from the beautiful scenery, in the scheme of the whole film that’s just nit picking though, Centurion lived up to my expectations and more, it’s a hell of a ride, I can see this having a cult following in years to come, which it comprehensively deserves. Two thumbs up from me.
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