Fancy bloody action from ancient times? Then the top-class history cracker “Centurion” on Netflix & Prime Video should be the right thing. Featuring stars from the worlds of Marvel, Game Of Thrones &The Walking Dead“ things get really hot here!
Centurion comes from director Neil Marshall, who was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the ninth episode of Game Of Thrones Season 4. The historical actioner is something special because, for once, it doesn’t show us the wars of conquest of the Roman Empire from the side of the Germans, Celts, or Gauls. Rather, we experience the whole thing from the point of view of a Roman officer, played by Michael Fassbender.
Also exceptional is the ruthless brutality with which Marshall stages the fights. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, since the Brit became known thanks to similarly hearty cinema works such as the war horror “Dog Soldiers”, the cave shocker “The Descent” or the apocalyptic thriller “Doomsday”. The violence is not only intended to shock but also as a stylistic device in this adventure, which not only comes up with the rough beauty of the Scottish Highlands but also with many faces that are now known from big blockbusters.
After enjoying “Centurion” in a sold-out theater at the Fantasy Filmfest in 2010, I recently stumbled upon it again on Netflix and once again felt thoroughly entertained. Anyone who enjoys martial action and fascinating historical spectacles based on real events should take a look here.
As an alternative to Netflix, “Centurion” is also included in the Amazon Prime Video subscription:
That’s what “Centurion” is all about on Netflix & Amazon Prime
117 AD: The south of Great Britain is firmly in Roman hands. But in the inhospitable, mountainous north, home of the well-fortified tribe of the Picts, the invaders can make no further progress. Again and again, they are attacked by King Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) and his warriors who are as clever as they are merciless.
The sole survivor of such an attack, Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) joins General Virilus (Dominic West) and his Ninth Legion in their bid to end the Picts once and for all. The local Etain (Olga Kurylenko) should help them. But the mute scout and tracker betray the army and leads them into an ambush that culminates in a gigantic bloodbath.
Only seven legionnaires, including Dias, the gnarly Brick (Liam Cunningham), the seriously injured Bothos (David Morrissey), and Field Cook Tarak (Riz Ahmed), survive the massacre and try somehow to get back to the safety of the South. But Gorlacon sends his captors, led by Etain, after the starving, severely weakened Romans…
“Centurion” is not a “Gladiator”
The brutality of the depictions of physical violence – a flaming arrow pierces the back of the head; someone rams a sharp spear into an opponent’s abdomen; Heads are chopped off in rows or even smashed on trees – it’s violent and certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But they help make Centurion an almost physical experience. Neil Marshall lets the bones crack so loud and the blood spurts so copiously that it goes through marrow and bone.
Sure, the excessively used (mostly digitally generated) splashes of red are more than just a little over the top. The same applies to the thick application of most of the actors’ acting or the philosophically trimmed texts of Fassbender’s narrator voice from the off. This kind of exaggeration and exaggeration gives the whole thing an interesting, theatrical, almost Shakespearean touch – very similar to Game of Thrones is often the case.
To avoid raising false expectations: “Centurion” is not a “Gladiator” or “Braveheart”. It might not even be a good film in the traditional sense. Marshall’s directing is damn entertaining though. Also because they coherently explain the real, still existing mystery of those who disappeared without a trace in the second century ninth legion of the Roman army trying to explain.
“Centurion” shines with stars from Marvel, “GoT” and “The Walking Dead”
In addition to the historical and cinematic aspects, I also like the top-class cast of “Centurion”. For me personally, it’s very interesting, and which is one of my favorite actors Michael Fassbender here again in a physically very demanding role. The German-Irish man is allowed to run extensively, fight, impale or slit his opponents and has to take a beating himself.
In his more recent action appearances, the “X-Men”, “300” and “Inglourious Basterds” star usually leaves the bulk of the manual work to his colleagues and is more responsible for the cerebral or emotional moments – which he is known to do excellently mastered and of course he is also required here. In this regard, the moments with Imogen Poots (“The Father”), who embodies a young hermit who lives in a forest hut and is outlawed as a witch, are particularly worth mentioning.
But Fassbender is not the only actor that the broad masses of cinema fans now know mainly from blockbusters. The “Venom” opponent Riz Ahmed and Olga Kurylenko, who appears as a powerful opponent in “Black Widow”, are there.
Also Dominic West from the brilliant series The Wire, Game Of Thrones veteran Liam Cunningham, David Morrissey, the Governor ofThe Walking Dead‘, and Danish star Ulrich Thomsen (‘Das Fest’, ‘Banshee’) are heavily involved. They all do their job well to very well and thus make a significant contribution to the success of this action-adventure.