Saturday, 24 April 2010

Centurion - Review

Its been a while since I've seen a film set around the Roman Empire, surely Ridley Scott's Gladiator wasn't the last one was it? Probably not, but I do like to blank those god awful Asterix films out of my mind. Hoping to fly the flag for the, ill fated but never forgotten, empire is the latest movie from Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers), Centurion.

The premise behind the film is set around, the legendary, Roman Ninth Legion whose disappearance still alludes historians and archaeologists to this day. Director Neil Marshall however thought he would take his own stab at conjuring a theory that they were essentially all wiped out by the native Celts, or Picts, save for a few survivors who go on a suicidal mission across harsh enemy territory to get themselves home.

Though sporting an impressive cast list featuring, the ever-versatile, Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds), Dominic West (The Wire), Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Doctor Who), David Morrissy (State of Play, Red Riding) oh and that horrendous excuse for a Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko, the film never really had the chance to suck you into its harsh environment and sheer brutality in the way I was genuinely hoping.

Though I won't lie, I did enjoy it for what it was - which wasn't much admittedly - the film suffered greatly from what seemed like a heavily edited script which made the narrative more ill-conceived than it should have been, jumping from one set of bleak circumstances to the next. Due to this, I was left rather disheartened as I never had the chance to truly connect with these characters in the manner I would have liked. But sure who needs complex character development when men and women are being butchered you ask? BLOOD! GORE! GRRRRLS! Which is a fair question, but call me old fashioned in that respect.

That's not to say Centurion was a complete shambles. Fassbender was brilliant in the lead role - considering what he had to work with, similarly so was West (still playing a little on his character from The Wire), the rest of the cast however never really sparked my interest, though I think the - already much battered - editing of the film also attributed to that. Another highlight for me personally was Kurylenko never opening her mouth, she could kick some ass, looked pretty enough and frankly that's about all I can take of her.

In a visual capacity I thought the director captured the ferocious settings in a beautiful manner, despite the rather comedic opening credit sequence, however I can't really fault him for trying something a bit different. The whitewashed effect on the camera lent a minor degree of elegance and class, to a film which, will hardly be associated with both those two words in the years to come.

Final Thoughts
An entertaining and brutal affair which unfortunately lacks a genuine killer edge, suffering from some horrendous editing room choices. Fassbender once again shows his credentials as a fantastic leading man, while Kurylenko shows all she's good for is to just stand there and never open her mouth, harsh but true. A likely director's cut upon the film's DVD release might clear up a few of the ridiculous loose ends but perhaps -to be romantic about it - the disjointed nature of the film lends itself beautifully to the mystery of the Ninth Legion which has alluded historians for centuries since. Suppose I shouldn't have expected much more from the man who directed The Descent...


See This If You Liked...
Gladiator and 300

Centurion is in cinemas everywhere now...

1 comment:

Jack Clark said...

This is a really good review of the film from what i saw, but i did also think it was helped by so many of the team's background in horror films. theres loads of it to be found! ive written some thoughts about it at
you should check it out, post a comment if you like