Monday, March 11, 2013

Movie of the Week – Centurion

This week’s movie: Centurion (2010).

In Britain, A.D. 117, the legendary Ninth Legion of Rome under General Vitilus’s command journeys north of Hadrian’s Wall under orders to destroy the Picts and their leader Gorlacon. This is the story of Quintus Dias, one of the few survivors, after the Picts decimate the Romans in a sneak attack.

Writer-director Neil Marshall had a strong background in thriller/horror films (having directed The Decent) as he entered production on Centurion giving him a good grasp on employing tension and shooting action. After Centurion, he directed maybe the best episode of Game of Thrones to date – Blackwater. He worked with composer Ilan Eshkeri, cinematographer Sam McCurdy (who does impressive work), and production designer Simon Bowles on this film.

The cast is fantastic. The film stars Michael Fassbender, and features Dominic West, JJ Field, David Morrissey, Ulrich Thomsen, Olga Kurylenko, Liam Cunningham, Noel Clarke, Riz Ahmed, and Imogen Poots in support.

Centurion has a bad rap (at least with critics when it came out). For a low budget British action thriller/drama, it is fantastic. It is among the best recent films regarding Rome’s occupation of Britain (and it makes a decent companion piece to The Eagle and the fictional King Arthur – though, it is the best of the three). Fassbender gives a good performance, and it has a ‘trapped behind enemy lines with a small group’ plot that works well. The action scenes are also quite compelling, outshining many big budget films. While Centurion is not a classic, it is a great underrated/under-seen film and well worth checking out for fans of Roman Empire period action films.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD, and Streaming


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