By Da’Mon Guy
Centurion is a little known, enjoyable, action packed fictitious tale based on the historical events that surrounded the disappearance of the Roman 9th legion. The film premiered in limited release in August of 2010. Centurion stars Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Bastards), Dominic West (Punisher: War Zone), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2), and Axelle Carolyn (Doomsday).
Britain, A.D. 117. Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pict raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon. (Imdb.com)
The movie is an enjoyable fable set in the time of the Roman empire. The subplot of the main story is the Roman’s attempted conquest of a nomadic people known as the Picts. The main story surrounds the remaining soldiers of the Roman 9th legion that try to return to Rome after a failed confrontation with the Picts. The remaining group of seven men then try to escape the land of the Picts. They attempt to trek back to Roman territory but in the process they are then hunted by the Picts. The movie is really simplistic in nature, a chase film. The Picts led by Etan (Kurylenko) are on a blood hunt chasing after Dias (Fassbender) and his remaining Roman soldiers after one of them killed the Pict king’s son.
The film is a multi layered story. On the surface, it’s an action movie, but beneath the blood, guts, and gore, it’s a film that is filled with deception, mistrust, betrayal, loyalty, and the need to find one’s true place in the world. The movie does a good job at showing the more barbaric nature of both sides of the conflict as the Romans attempt to conquer the seemingly barbaric Picts but the Romans are equally as uncivilized, just in a different way. The movie also shows in detail how both races of people are not oblivious to persecution of their own kind. From one another and from within. Both cultures turn on their own people for the sake of its beliefs. The Romans for glory and the Picts for religion.
Centurion is filled with action and is graphically violent. This is not a film for the weak stomached, the conflict is brutal but fitting. The cinematography and action sequences are very well shot. The fight scenes are swift, bloody and violent. A good representation of the time of the movie. The film contains one of the better confrontation scenes that I’ve seen in a period based film as the Picts commenced a surprise attack of the 9th legion. The film is has a really good look in spite of a lack of budget.
The film is carried by a duo of commendable performances. Micheal Fassbender, and Olga Kurylenko both give entertaining performances. Fassbender and Kurylenko’s characters are the central focus of the film. Fassbender as Quintus Dias is compelling. Kurylenko is equally good as the mute Pict, Etan. Usually known for her looks more than her acting Kurylenko gives a decent performance as the driven female barbarian. She is very convincing as she doesn’t contain any line within the film. Dominic West made an very brief but confusing performance as the Roman general. The character was initially portrayed as a “bad ass” but was quickly dismissed as he was captured and killed. The character’s only relevance was to serve as motivation for Fassbender’s character, Dias.
Centurion is a mildly enjoyable movie. The film will be more entertaining for fans of period based films. However, the story is simplistic and enjoyable. The movie isn’t a must see but it is more than adequate enough to satisfy a boring night at home.