21 February 2011

OMENS: Centurion


Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed, Dave Legeno, Ulrich Thomsen
Written & Directed by Neil Marshall
Release: 23 April 2010
Pathe, 97 mins., Rated R

Plot: Quintas Dias and his Roman buddies are on the run from bloodthirsty bad guys.

Now that was some awesome shit.

Future young Magneto Michael Fassbender leads a bruised and battered group of Roman soldiers back home after their army was attacked and pretty much destroyed, but they face opposition: the blood hungry Etain is on their trail, and she will stop at nothing to butcher every last Roman out of revenge.

So let’s see what CENTURION offers: a sword-and-sandals epic with great production at a reasonably reserved budget; plenty of bloody carnage; a cat-and-mouse chase picture; and a drama about the last surviving members of an army banding together to live. Sounds brilliant, and it is brilliant. It does hurt – not in the slightest – that this movie is handled with care and creativity by the hands of writer/director Neil Marshal, who arguably delivered one of the best horror movies of the last decade (THE DESCENT). And now he unleashes another flick that is just as mesmerizing and unforgettable.

It’s a simple plot, I’ll give you that, but Marshal and the actors milk it. The cinematography is breathtaking. Absolutely beautiful. The sweeping helicopter shots of the snow covered lands, the threat of each tree, the beauty of running water, the menace and uncertainty of mist – if there is one irrefutable truth about CENTURION that not even the nonlovers can deny, it’s how gorgeous this movie looks.

Those looking for a bloody good time – and I mean that literally, as in blood spurting all over the place – you’ll most definitely be pleased with the amount of swordy carnage that is in display here. Each Roman soldier is ready to die for their commander, but hell if they won’t do everything in their power to take out as many enemies as they can. No part of the body is safe from a death blow.

The cast is brilliant, as expected. Neil Marshall has a talent with getting some magnificent performances from the people under his charge, and this is no different. They each play their part terrifically, displaying the camaraderie in the more intimate night scenes where they have a moments break to just chill and talk about the past and their lives, displaying the never-give-up mentality of the Romans, and all around being likable and charismatic blokes. But there’s one performance that shines above all the others.

Believe it or not, but when it comes to Olga Kurylenko, I’m going to resist commenting on her natural beauty and give a huge compliment: she was magnificent as Etain. CENTURION’s protagonists are the Romans, sure, but this movie is about Etain as much as it is about them. Olga was fine in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but holy shit, this is a tour de force, I’d go as far as saying. It’s a cliché to comment on actor’s eyes and the emotion they bring, but in this case, it’s bloody deserved. Look at the screencap to the right for proof. Olga’s Etain is the embodiment of rage and revenge and war, and she sells it. Bloodthirsty, ready to strike in a second like a snake – it’s mesmerizing. If you’re on the fence about CENTURION, I’d recommend it just for her. Frakkin’ frightening, ladies and gents.

And I would be a horrible DOCTOR WHO fan if I didn’t note that two actors from that show appear here: Noel Clarke, who plays Roman soldier Macros, was Mickey Smith, boyfriend of Rose Tyler, for two series of the show when it came back in 2005/2006. David Morrissey, who plays Roman soldier Bothos, was Jackson Lake, a man who believed himself to be The Doctor after his brain was zapped by a memory capsule containing information about The Doctor. And yes, I’m going to point out every DOCTOR WHO actor no matter the subject, cos I’m that obsessed. I need therapy.

In case the following rating and the review didn't cement it: watch CENTURION. It's awesome, bloody, compelling, and the time will just fly by and you'll want to watch it again very soonish. Well, at least I want to. Imminent purchase!

Netflix Rating: Loved It


Rachel [ f.g.i. ] said...

I also enjoyed this movie! Olga Kurylenko is much easier to watch when she doesn't talk, haha (she annoyed me in "Quantum of Solace")!

But seriously, "Centurion" is beautiful and brutal. Cheers!

Jack L said...

I loved this one as well, I don't know why it got such mixed reviews. It was a solid and entertaining action film, much better than most action films last year, like Robin Hood, Prince Of Persia...

I actually thought this was better than Gladiator, and yet that film got Best Picture while Centurion has no chance getting any awards.

Great review!

Castor said...

Since you really enjoyed this, I recommend seeing the recently released The Eagle which has a similar theme although it's less action-oriented.

Andy the Time Lord said...

Rachel - Agreed. Although instead of QUANTUM, I would say her most annoying role (I've seen her in) is definitely MAX PAYNE. Excruciatingly bad, all of it.

Jack - Hell yes! The action scenes in CENTURION far exceeds those mega million dollar productions. But better than GLADIATOR...nah, can't totally get behind that bandwagon. The two movies do have similarities, indeed, but they are also different enough beasts I don't think they should fairly be compared.

Castor - I fully intend on hitting up THE EAGLE, although Channing Tatum in the lead scares me a little. Once I get back to Oakdale I'm just going to have a giant movie marathon at the theater and EAGLE is definitely at the top.

Fitz said...

This looks like a great cast. How is Dominic West?

Andy the Time Lord said...

Fitz, ultimately Dominic West isn't in the movie beyond the 40 min. mark. However, he certainly makes a impression. He has one pretty cool 300-like scene where his character squares off with Olga, but otherwise, he barks orders most of the time.