isn't just a rousing adventure, but a return to form for The Descent
director Neil Marshall after the disappointing Doomsday
. Irish actor Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds
) plays Quintus Dias, a Roman soldier attempting to defend the Empire against Northern England's indigenous Pict population, when they take him captive. Once General Virilus (The Wire
's Dominic West), who inspires fierce devotion in his men, gets wind of the skirmish, he sets out to vanquish opposition leader Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) with the aid of Etain (Quantum of Solace
's Olga Kurylenko), a mute tracker. Though his Ninth Legion, which includes Bothos (David Morrissey) and Brick (Liam Cunningham, Fassbender's Hunger
costar), tracks down Quintus, the Picts slaughter most other comrades and seize Virilus, shifting the battle for conquest into a struggle for survival, a Marshall specialty since Dog Soldiers
. Only Arianne (Solitary Man
's Imogen Poots), a medicine woman who treats Bothos's wounds, arrives as a light in the darkness, holding out the promise of romance should Quintus make it out of Pict territory alive. Though Centurion
isn't a world away from historical epics like Braveheart
--and succumbs to some of the same genre clichés--Marshall conjures up more of a Western feel with the Romans standing in for cowboys and the Picts for Indians. There's carnage aplenty, but also stunning Highland vistas in shades of emerald and teal. And though Fassbender is a fine actor, West and Kurylenko end up stealing the show by virtue of their more dynamic performances. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
CENTURION is a gripping survival thriller set in early AD Britain. Quintus (MICHAEL FASSBENDER, Inglourious Basterds), the sole survivor of a savage raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe out the terrifying tribes known as the Picts. When the Legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus seized, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to survive behind enemy lines with a small band of soldiers in a race to save their general and evade capture, torture and certain death.
Le centurion Quintus Dias, unique survivant de sa garnison massacrée par les Pictes, rejoint la 9e légion commandée par le général Virilus, qui a été chargé de lancer une attaque décisive contre les Pictes et leur roi. Mais la bataille tourne au massacre, et, après la disparition du général, Quintus Dias se retrouve à la tête d’une poignée d’hommes en plein territoire ennemi.