Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Statements About....CENTURION (2010)

Stabby stabby!
1) Even though most people would write this off as a 300 rip-off, and it is based on a somewhat dubious historical incident (the end credits refer to it as a '2000 year old legend), Marshall is unapologetic about where his inspiration lies--just as Doomsday was his fusion of Escape From New York and The Road Warrior, this is his ancient British take on Walter Hill's Southern Comfort. He even thanks Hill in the acknowledgements....

Cast out for witchcraft, or lounding Loreal?  You decide....
2) Apparently, Imogen Poots (still the most unfortunately named actress ever, and prolly will remain so unless one emerges named Evelyn Farts) was cast out of the Pict village not for being a witch, but for discovering modern day cosmetics....

3) Now having seen her as main villian Etain, I have to say I like Olga Kurylenko better when she doesn't have to talk. Or pout. Or do much other than beat people up and stab them through with a big pointy iron spear. You can almost Etain being the ancestor of Doomsday's Drop Dead Girl.

4) Even though Marshall favors lots of quick cuts in his action scenes, I appreciate the fact that he doesn't just go all-in with the shakey-cam.

5) Wow...seeing Noel Clarke as one of the Legionnaires is kinda disconcerting. All I could think during the action sequences was 'wow, Mikey can haul ass.'

6) I think that Marshall is very much aware of the parallels this story has to some of the situations our troops overseas are going through each day....but he doesn't draw attention to it.

7) I can just picture how there was pressure on Marshall to give us a happy, happy ending--but even though Michael Fassbinder's Quintus does have a happy ending with Poots' Arianne, the bitterness of how he gets there resonates with the audience long after that kiss fades from memory.

8) Thankfully, this is a historical film where people actually talk like historical personages--no modern day speech here, thank God.

9) For a film full of blood and gore and hacked off stuff, it's gorgeously shot, utilizing Scotland to its fullest effect. Its natural beauty acts as a counterpoint to the carnage that occurs within its borders.

10) Whether he intended it that way or not, the line about Hadrian's Wall is amazingly funny.

Overall...better than Doomsday, but not as good as his two horror films, this is still an effective historical adventure tale with a very dark center. I'll still follow Marshall into his next movie.

This was the first time in a long time where I went to the Angelika Film Center to see a movie (really; the last movie I went to see there was Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer). A serious bit of culture shock, as I was treated to an actual waiting room to relax in before the auditorium was ready, no stupid Firstlook bullshit, and an actual short film to only complaints were the non-stadium style seats and the annoying ten-minute loop of music that played the same song by JP, Chrissie and The Fairground Boys three times, reminding us each time it was based on Let The Right One In...

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