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 <more>
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.
Historical fiction doesn't get more exciting than this (by c-kelsall)
Centurion is a great film, and I suspect it's going to be totally underrated by the cinema-going public. I saw it at my local Odeon last night, the only cinema in town showing it, and I strongly suspect it won't be on next week. This is an example of a really good British film from a director with a strong pedigree not getting the kind of publicity and public interest that is frequently given to the most heinous rubbish that Hollywood can produce. Granted, many people don't share my director-centric view of forthcoming features; I'm prepared to risk getting my fingers burned <more>
occasionally in avidly chasing any films made by a select bunch of my favourite directors, but my approach is usually rewarded with excellence, like Centurion. In structure it is a very simple story, beautifully shot and honestly told. The bloody battles are very realistic - you get a good feel for what it might actually have been like to fight hand-to-hand in ancient times, frantic and deadly. The characters are simply drawn, and develop through their actions rather than words quite literally in the case of Olga Kurylenko's "Etain" . There is good and bad on both sides of the conflict, which is true to every war in human history. Ultimately, it offers a quite believable scenario to explain the mysterious historical disappearance of the 9th Legion in Hibernia.
I already had high expectations of this film because of The Descent, and Centurion lived up to them. It's inevitably going to be compared with Gladiator, but this is a different sort of movie. Smaller scale but no less sumptuous visually, this is an exhilarating action/chase movie with gorgeous real locations that make Scotland look as grand as Lord of the Rings.The cast are uniformly excellent too, despite or perhaps because of harsh filming conditions in real snow in winter in the Scottish mountains.Not for the squeamish - there's plenty of blood and carnage, as you'd expect <more>
I'm a fan of the culture and history of early Britain, so my opinion may be tainted a bit, but I really enjoyed this flick. It had a surprisingly good story and was not just a blood and guts war fest. It appears that the movie may be based on Rosemary Sutcliff's Book 'The Eagle of the Ninth', in which the Ninth Legion is wiped out in Scotland in AD 117. In any case, there is controversy and mystery as to what really happened to the 9th, and that makes a setting for a good tale. There is just enough history to make the story plausible, for example the creation of Hadrian's <more>
wall is depicted.Neither side is portrayed as the "good guys" or the "bad guys", and to me, that brought a sense of realism with it. This is a bloody film, with heads rolling and a plethora of fighting, so don't bring the kiddies. I watched it On Demand, but I might go see it again in the theater.
Unlike the big-budget disappointment of 'Clash of the Titans', 'Centurion' is rather low-key, with no real big name stars or any 3D gimmicks. Fortunately, 'Centurion' is everything 'Clash of the Titans' should have been. There's an interesting quest story, atmospheric mise-en-scene and – more importantly – plenty of blood-and-guts action. This is not your Hollywood sword-and-sandals movie, polished within an inch of its life and designed to please everyone.The plot is fairly straightforward. Quintus Dias the brilliant Michael Fassbender is the lone <more>
survivor of a raid from the savage Picts, based in northern Britain. Dias marches with the ninth legion, led by General Virilus Dominic West to eliminate the Picts. When the legion is ambushed and Virilus is taken captive, it's up to Dias and a small band of soldiers to rescue Virilus, defeat the Picts and return to the Roman frontier.The spectacular violence is the highlight of the film. This is not for the squeamish, as blood flows from the opening battle and doesn't stop until the end: there's decapitated limbs, beheadings and lots of throat slitting. While there's plenty of violence, it never ventures into "gore porn" territory. The fight scenes are edited so quickly that sometimes it's hard to pick up who's killing who in the mess of bodies. As a viewer, it's best to just sit back and watch the carnage, which certainly earns its MA rating with a bit of swearing thrown in .Probably the most brutal is Pict warrior Etain Olga Kurylenko , who has an almost animalistic ability to track enemies. While – due to her character being mute - Kurylenko has no dialogue, she makes up for it by matching it blow-for-blow with the male characters. Like most films of this nature, there is a romantic sub-plot, between Dias and Arian Imogen Poots , a Pict witch who has been doomed to a life of solitude and briefly houses Dias and his soldiers. Fortunately, the romantic sub-plot is only really hinted at and isn't there just for the sake of it.Though the mise-en-scene is quite murky, this adds to the film's atmosphere and helps to draw you into the story, as well as providing a stark contrast to all the blood. The score is quite unobtrusive - the only times you really notice it is in the quieter scenes, which helps establish the relationship between Dias and his soldiers, often punctuated with dark humour. If you like films with plenty of violence, then sit back, and enjoy the ride of 'Centurion'.
Centurion the diamond in the rough (by kevindasman)
I had the pleasure of watching "Centurion" with some of my friends and we were quite surprised by Neil Marshall's directing of the movie.The story in the film is rough and violent like the times in the Roman era-Europe 146 BC - 480 AD under emperors such as Nero, Caligula etc.Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and especially Ulrich Thomsen as the Celtic chief Gorlacon does a fantastic job portraying the characters. Gorlacon is merciless but yet sympathetic in the role as a Celt that leads his people under pressure by the Roman Empire.The film is bloody and action-packed so if <more>
you like the Roman Empire, Celts and visionary action scenes I would recommend "Centurion"
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 <more>
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
Im a big Neil marshall fan, he seems to be one of the few Brits who can still entertain you. I know he's a man of the people and likes going to festivals doing Q$As so i'm hoping he reads these reviews........please don't ever do a British gangster movie, you, Ridley Scott, Danny Boyle etc are our only hope for a decent film industry over here.Having said that with this film although i loved it like i knew i would being a Scotsman i was a bit confused as to whom i should be cheering on!. Its always been a great bit of Scottish pride knowing we were the only country they <more>
couldn't invade and for that reason i was all for the Picts. On the other hand the characters were engaging and you couldn't help wishing them to safety.....its kind of like watching the battle of the bulge from the Germans point of view.Anyway its a good solid movie well worth watching.
A tense, tough, and entertaining tale of Romans at war (by seale9)
Just finished watching "Centurion" on Comcast Video On Demand. First time I ever paid for a VOD flick. Score one for modern technology. "Centurion" is a sword and sandal version of an old fashioned war film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know Neil Marshall's last outing disappointed some critics and fans, but this one was am expertly crafted crowd pleaser that delivers the goods. It's a lean, mean and and seldom slackens the pace. The plot is centered on a group of Roman soldiers trying to elude some Pictish pursuers and make it back to Hadrian's Wall. For that <more>
reason, it reminded me of those low budget Korean War movies that Hollywood cranked out in the 1950's. Most of them were slow-paced depictions of a retreating platoon or squad cut off from their own lines. Marshall even gave his Romans a multi-cultural makeup that would have pleased Howard Hawks or William Welllman. In the old days the American unit always had a slow talking Texan, a tough kid from Brooklyn, a farm boy from Iowa, etc. Marshall's Roman cohort includes a Syrian, an African, a Tuscan farmer, a Greek, and the oddly clean cut son of a Roman gladiator. Hey, fine by me. I'm a big believer in film traditions.Marshall wrote the script and it was plain to see he is a film buff, as he borrowed bits from a number of earlier films like "Butch Cassidy," "Last of the Mohicans," "Naked Prey," and others. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody does it and Marshall has tossed together an admirable mix of familiar, but revered, action set pieces served up with the frantic pace, CGI bloodletting, and super-model Amazons to appeal to modern audiences. The aerial photography of the Scotish highlands was wonderful and really gave the film a more epic scope. The major battle scene early in the film is first rate, though Marsahll lifted the rolling fireballs from Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus." The obligatory CGI blood sprays were there, but nothing like the crimson tidal waves of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." I am not, however, a big fan of computerized frame blending to heighten the intensity of the action scenes. Seems artificial to me, but I am sure others are fine with it.Like all cat-and-mouse chase films there are a few contrived scenes to allow the fleeing Romans inexplicable breathing room to spew manly dialog hey, I like manly dialog and even relax with a pretty girl. But overall, Marshall's narrative holds up and none of the characters do anything with swords or spears that seem totally implausible. The acting is solid and way above action film norms. My own personal opinion is that Great Britain produces the best actors in the world. Maybe that is why we Americans are using so many British transplants as leads in our films and TV series. Michael Fassbinder has that cool screen presence an action film star needs, plus he can act. Dominic West was very good as a tough-as-nails Roman general. I also liked David Morrisey and Liam Cunningham as two salt-of-the-earth foot soldiers. While I never really bought Olga Kurylenko as an unstoppable, force-of-nature warrior woman, she handled the fight scenes surprisingly well. Overall, "Centurion" is a first-class film that I'll be adding to my DVD collection. I hope it does well enough at the box office to encourage the making of other historical action films. I have to hand it to the Brits for this one, "Solomon Kane," and the upcoming "Eagle of the Ninth" and "Ironclad." I don't think there are many US studios that would even consider making a film like "Centurion" nowadays. More's the pity.