Saturday, October 09, 2010

Centurion (2010)

Historians — the killjoys — are now almost unanimous in the view that the Ninth Legion probably didn't simply vanish in its entirety one day after marching north into the Caldeonian fog.

This year however, two film-makers have decided to stick to the myth, and Neil Marshall — he of underground gribblies fame — is first out of the blocks with this highly entertaining tale of imperial overextension.

It features two of my favourite actors of the movement Michael Fassbender, as the eponymous Centurion Quintus Dias and Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilius, the leader of the Ninth tasked by Agricola with dealing with those perennially awkward people in the northern part of Britain.

There's a key moment where you are wondering just how the Picts are going to break down a well-held Roman line, and their (and Marshall's) solution to this challenge comes as a wry surprise.

With the legion destroyed a handful of Roman survivors has to escape from behind enemy lines hotly pursued by the mute Pictish terminator by the name of Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko. It's one long chase sequence, it has a half-hearted subtext about Nato and the Taleban, and it's both brutal and exciting.

Grade: B+(+)

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