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|Format||Closed-captioned, NTSC, Widescreen, AC-3, Color, Multiple Formats, Dolby, Subtitled|
|Contributor||Carolyn, Axelle, West, Dominic, Kurylenko, Olga, Morrissey, David, Ross, Lee, Marshall, Neil, Fassbender, Michael, Legeno, Dave, Thomsen, Ulrich, Feild, Jj See more|
|Runtime||1 hour and 37 minutes|
AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias (Fassbender), sole survivor of a Pict raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by revenge-hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier.
- Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : English
- Product dimensions : 1.6 x 13.77 x 19.18 cm; 45.36 Grams
- Item Model Number : 10341
- Director : Marshall, Neil
- Media Format : AC-3, Color, Dolby, Multiple Formats, NTSC, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 37 minutes
- Release date : 2 November 2010
- Actors : Fassbender, Michael, West, Dominic, Kurylenko, Olga, Morrissey, David, Feild, Jj
- Subtitles: : Spanish
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Unqualified
- Studio : Magnolia Pict Hm Ent
- ASIN : B00406UK7S
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 53,865 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 41,282 in Movies (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I bought this movie for two reasons: One, I am fascinated by the era, and as someone who has Pictish blood running in their veins, it was nice to see a movie based around the Picts. Secondly I am a big Michael Fassbender fan and he does a good job throughout with the limited script to work with.
While this film does have some issues it is a decent enough Historical flick that if you are into the era you may enjoy.
"Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.0)"
On playing the DVD the language was Spanish, additionally all the sub titles were locked in Spanish text, requiring a laborious testing to find in "Idiomas" the option "Audio Ingles" . When the option "Ingles" was selected the movie was still locked in Spanish.
When the seller was contacted they insisted that the movie was in English and refused a refund.
DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM.
The movie opens with Centurion Quintus Dias (Fassbender) fleeing his captors across the snowy northland. Flashbacks introduce us to his predicament: two weeks earlier his garrison was overrun and he was spared only because he spoke the Pictish language. After some rough interrogation by Pictish king Gorlacon he escapes and is rescued by the Ninth Legion during their march. The Ninth is commanded by General Titus Flavius Virilus (West), a man respected and beloved as much for his tactical leadership as his rowdiness. Orders come in from the military governor, who feels Britain is lost but needs a victory to grease his way back to Rome. Out of the blue the governor provides the general with Etain (Kurylenko), a legendary Pictish scout who can literally track anything. I'm guessing this skill is based upon the anecdote that losing one sense sharpens the others- her tongue was cut out by legionnaires when she was a child after they killed her family and abused her (which makes her exactly the sort of person a military governor would place absolute faith in to guide troops along to help subjugate her country).
After the inevitable and obvious betrayal- though it was a pretty good battle scene- the seven survivors of the massacre, including Centurion Quintus Dias, learn that their general was captured and taken to where Quintus was being held. They follow in an attempt to rescue him but fail, and one of the group manages to kill Gorlacon's young son in the process. Now the survivors must evade a band of vengeance-fueled hunters led by Etain as they try to get back to Roman lines. The hardships of the journey both strengthen their bonds and shows the cracks in their unity. Etain drives her prey hard, whittling down their numbers and inadvertently forcing them to split up. Quintus and what's left of his group stagger into a peaceful glade where Arianne, a beautiful young woman with exceptional healing skills, lives a solitary existence (you DO see it coming, right?). She directs them to a nearby garrison, which turns out to be abandoned, where they're forced to make a stand against Etain and her warriors. But a few final troubles await the survivors when they finally reach what will eventually become Hadrian's Wall, explaining why the fate of the Ninth Legion became a mystery.
It all sounds better than it played out.
The biggest failing of the movie is it's just too clichéd and sometimes just plain dumb, even when not spraying obviously fake CGI blood: Quintus and Etain share some kind of psychic bond- he can feel her rage across the miles- though it's never explained how or why. The biggest chase sequence is completely stolen from 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid'(going across the mountains and the river jump). The pictish trackers are ordered to bring the Romans' heads back to Gorlacon, yet when one of the soldiers lies wounded they decide to 'just let him bleed' (wtf?)... so you know what comes next. Arianne has a scar from being marked as a witch by Gorlacon himself- again, why?- thus has no love for 'her people' so is quite willing to host a handsome centurion and his buddies.
The other big problem is the somewhat deceptive advertising: billed as the story of the missing legion ala '300', one look at the title tells you different. This is all Quintus' movie- evidenced by his narration and character focus as well as the fact that the Ninth Legion gets slaughtered about halfway through. Since that's what it is, that's what it should've been sold as. But it's not a complete washout- this is a harsh, cold, gritty world built upon blood and struggle but also contains some beautiful vistas and scenery. And both the dialogue and performances are serviceable; everyone holds up their end of the deal. The fight scenes are sufficiently amputative, but the buttery grease on my fingers was more convincing that the stuff spraying across the screen.
This flick could've been a whole lot more than it was, but was never given a chance to. A real shame given the premise; it might've made for some interesting character studies and storytelling. I saw it widescreen here in NYC but its also available On-Demand, which is the best way to go; save it for a rainy day in or something.
Top reviews from other countries
Fassbander was well...Fassbander. As usual his Irish lilt comes through in every film or drama he's in....and he's supposed to be doing an English accent....
It's an ok film. Not one of the best though but passes the time.
The action is set in year 117 AD, in the country which today is called Scotland but which Romans named Caledonia. This harsh and inhospitable land was inhabited by tribes which Romans called first Caledonians and later Picts. Caledonia was the only part of main British island which was not controlled by Roman Empire and Caledonians/Picts resisted fiercely all attempts of conquest - and in fact, in Ist and IInd centuries, frequently attacked Roman part of the island. The movie describes an episode of those Pictish wars, although because of lack of precise sources, it is not exactly based on real events and the names of the main leaders (Roman general Virilus and Pictish king Gorlacon) are fictive.
To avoid spoilers I will not say much more about the plot - but please be aware that this is a very brutal and bloody movie, full of scenes of realistically described close quarters combat, but also of torture and murder. I believe this realism is ultimately an asset, but many people (and I think most women) will certainly find "Centurion" too shocking to watch. Under no circumstances children or younger teenagers should be allowed to see this movie - and I would in fact deeply recommend to restrict it only to those who are aged 18 years or more.
"Centurion" shows a great deal of incredibly beautiful images of nature in northern part of Scotland (especially Cairngorms mountains and Badenoch district), attempting to show how did it look in times when its population was still scarce and nature mostly remained wild and untouched, with wolves and deers more easily met than humans. The forest scenes were filmed in natural parks in England. Those settings alone are a good reason to see "Centurion" as they are simply impossible to describe - you simply must see them! For that reason also I would really recommend to watch it on the biggest possible screen.
Actors play well and the characters are interesting and well thought. Michael Fassbinder plays the main hero, centurion Quintus Dias, and his performance is very honest. However, two other actors steal the show from him: Dominic West and especially Olga Kurylenko.
Dominic West already showed how versatile actor he was playing the ambiguous character of detective McNulty in "The Wire" but also the abject Spartan politician Theron in "300". Here he portrays the Roman general Virilus in another excellent performance. It was a pleasure to watch him.
But the REAL performance is that of Olga Kurylenko, who plays Etain, a silent, never smiling Briton tracker/scout working for Romans. Etain can not speak (when she was a child her tongue was cut off) but still, her character dominates the whole movie - and it is not only because of the great beauty of Ms Kurylenko, as she is mostly wrapped in furs and her face is partly hidden by blue war paintings. Really, I found this character fascinating and totally unforgettable and I am certain she will mark you too!
And finally a special mention for Imogen Poots, a very cute and absolutely lovely British actress who plays Pictish sorceress, Arian, and the gorgeous Belgian actress Axelle Carolyn (who is also the wife of the director of the movie, Neil Marshal), who plays Pictish female warrior, Aeron. This importance accorded to women is another point in favor of this movie. In Pictish society women were mostly equals of men and most of them were also warriors, to the point that some fought in battles carrying babies attached on their backs!
Now, the one thing I did not totally like in this movie is the flawed representation of the way in which roman legions marched, camped and especially fought. When watching "Centurion" you must inevitably ask the question "But how come those guys could conquer so many countries and build a three continent empire?" The answer is, those guys did not - but the real legions did, because they made war totally differently than pictured in this film. And this is a pity, because there clearly was an effort to stick to historical reality - like for example the fact that in this movie Roman soliders wear "lorica segmentata" armour, which in those times just replaced the previously used "lorica hamata" (chain mail). But the effort was not made when the tactics are described.
I will just focus on the biggest issue - fighting tactics. Roman regular infantry was so dangerous because it used a mixture of missile and close combat weapons. The enemy was first engaged with highly specialized heavy javelins, the "pilum", of which every infantryman carried two: one lighter and one heavier. The lighter javelin was thrown first (because it had a longer range), then the heavier and then only the legion would close the ranks in a shield wall and engage the enemy with short but quite heavy Roman swords "gladius". The important thing is that Roman swords were perfectly adapted for stabbing (with an upward thrust) but rather poorly suited for slashing. Or in "Centurion" NOT EVEN ONE "pilum" is thrown and in fact Roman soldiers do not even carry them. Instead all of them have classical long spears - which in reality would be used only by a small minority of eldest soldiers (whose arms were not so strong and their eyes not so good anymore) for protection against a possible cavalry charge. Also Roman soldiers slash wildly at their enemies with their short swords, without even trying to use them efficiently...
There is also the little point of a general who walks through hostile wild country without any flank guard, even if he has some nimble footed auxiliary light infantry suited for this task - one of the heroes, Leonidas, is after all a lightly equipped Greek slinger. And of course any such expedition should relay for all reconnaissance only on one indigenous tracker and two Roman cavalrymen, giving a total of three (yes, three!) horse riding scouts for the security of a whole army (the Ninth Legion and all its "auxillia").
However, although I certainly did not like that part of the movie, all the rest was so good and made on me such a strong impression, that I simply couldn't take one star off the rating. I loved this movie in cinema and I will certainly buy the DVD!
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