Movie Review: Centurion

Centurion is a title that passed out of theaters very quickly, but I’m always interested in movies about Roman warfare.  I can’t explain that, it just is.  And I’ve been on a Michael Fassbender marathon lately.  Hunger, 300, Inglourious Basterds… and I just added Jonah Hex and Blood Creek to my queue.  Neither of which I think will be good, but I’m excited to check his performances out. He blew me away in Hunger and it has been all Fassbender since.

In Centurion he plays a Roman soldier who basically goes through hell at the hand of the Picts.  He was good, but to be honest it was Dominic West who really shone in this one as the Roman general who is one with his men.  Built for battle and nothing else.

This film actually has the same problems as the other Neil Marshall films I’ve seen (all of them) – a cool premise, but a murky plot with even murkier lighting making it hard to decipher what’s going on and the occasionally awesome sequence. Thankfully, most of this film takes place during the daylight.  And the cast of this film is better than the others.

I guess my biggest problem with the film is that, although West and Fassbender are awesome, it is hard to root for Roman soldiers.  They are way out of Rome, invading the homes and land of the Picts.  They try to dehumanize the Picts, by dressing them up like savages and having them speak in a foreign tongue… but Olga Kurylenko’s hunter character (she would be so awesome if she never spoke like in this film) was raped and had her tongue cut out by the Romans, right after her parents were raped and killed. And the only child in the film is a Pict child, who is killed by the Romans.  None of this is actually a ‘problem’, it is probably more like real-life.  Both sides of a battle have their heroes, and their reasons. But here the Picts are depicted as the villains, unlike a film such as Battle of Algierswhere both sides are portrayed evenly.

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