Dave White
Centurion Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

99 gallons of blood on the wall...

Who's In It: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Ulrich Thomsen, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, Liam Cunningham, Imogen Poots, David Morrissey, Riz Ahmed

The Basics: It's a lot of hundreds of years ago, the second century AD, in fact, and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds; he was also the skeevy boyfriend in Fish Tank) is a Roman soldier caught in the middle of an unwinnable war that Rome has decided to wage for 20 losing years in Scotland. So basically it's Vietnam and Iraq and every other war from history where a superpower decided it could take a little nothing country in fight, only to discover that the place turned out to be full of people who wanted nothing more than to chop of the invaders' heads. Lots of heads. Lots and lots of heads.

What's The Deal: It'd be a lot easier to make all the dumb "Tonight we dine in Scotland! On Haggis! With a vegetarian option!" comments I had planned if this movie were actually awful. But it's from director Neil Marshall, who already made the freaked-out-ladies-trapped-in-a-cave movie The Descent and the extremely crazy, extremely gory Doomsday, so this is a filmmaker who knows how to deliver an effective genre movie, the kind that grabs your face and makes you keep looking even though you know it's not going to be an especially classy two hours. It's exciting, confusing, grouchy, growly, historical-ish, high on its own seriousness and full of grimy camaraderie, the kind you always see in movies about men fighting ancient wars and not taking baths.

More Elevating Qualities: Michael Fassbender can carry a movie. He's got that too-good-looking thing and a command of the camera and acting ability you don't really expect to see on display film that's mostly just shouting and slashing. Meanwhile, the whole thing looks great and has that same chilly blue-green-everything and nice production values that the Russell Crowe Robin Hood had. And it probably cost about a third as much to make.

Fans Of All Things Brutal, Take Note: This movie is as violent and bloody as anything you've ever seen and probably the neck-stabbiest film of 2010 so far. Some of the red stuff looks digital but that won't affect your enjoyment of the nonstop impalement. Now, normally I'm against battle scenes like the ones here where you can't tell who's killing or being killed. But when those killings are as blunt and nasty and gut-kicking as this, you sort of forget that you're supposed to care about them as actual people and you just start cheering for more violence. Okay, maybe that's just me.

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Comments (10)

Justin - 9-14-2010 4:34 PM
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I'm a HUUUGE Scarrow fan and devoted reader and was SOOO looking forward to seeing this as soon as I heard it was being made into a movie. Now it's out but where??? Not in LA, the 2nd largest city and gotta be a big film market no? Aint bleeding Holloywood out here...still?

bob - 9-14-2010 4:37 PM
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i'm a huge fan too

ric - 9-14-2010 4:39 PM
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I love Scarrow and have read all the Roman books go MACRO!

stevie king - 9-14-2010 4:47 PM
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What we need is for all the Scarrow fans and loyal readers to speak up and stand and be counted and get a general release going!!!

serena - 9-14-2010 4:54 PM
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Other than my racket(s) I'm never without my Scarrow books, I'd be happy just to get 'em on my ipad personally. A film just icing on the cake baby.

tims - 9-14-2010 5:35 PM
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Thanks to all my fans, I don't understand why there's such a limited release in the US - it played widely here in the UK and did quite well if I don't say so myself. My best of luck in you yangs getting this off to a wider distribution. Cheers

jestifer - 9-14-2010 5:37 PM
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Whose Scarrow? Director? Author?

Stevie king - 9-14-2010 5:40 PM
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Author, wrote several Rome inspired novels tracking the trials and tribulations - and much waring - of two central characters - Cato and Macro; both Centurians. Excellent writer and strong portrayals of Roman military life to include tactics and organizational structures which allowed Rome to flourish and conquer most of the western world.

Chet - 9-14-2010 5:47 PM
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Not playing in San Diego either - wonder if it's just midwest or east coast - odd though, big English community here and always see Scarrow titles in the book stores here

rc - 9-15-2010 11:44 AM
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Hey all, Here's Scarrow's FB page - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2521966781

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