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|Centurion is officially rated R in the United States. It is 98 minutes (1 hour and 38 minutes) in length. Given its extreme violence and lack of educational value, it is inappropriate for classroom viewing.
Written and directed by Neil Marshall, Centurion seizes upon the legend of Rome's Ninth Legion, believed for centuries to have been lost to the Picts of ancient Scotland. The story begins with the decimation of the Ninth Legion, then follows a small group of Roman survivors as they try to escape their native enemies. The big problem for history teachers is that there is no evidence for any of this. On the contrary, archaeologists working in Germany have discovered evidence of the Ninth Legion along the Rhine River years after this story, indicating that the legion was relocated rather than wiped out.
There are other inaccuracies, as well. Roman cavalry are shown using stirrups, which they did not use. Tents are made with canvas rather than leather. Set in 117 C.E., the film names Julius Agricola as governor, a remarkable feat considering that he was recalled in 85 C.E. and died in 93 C.E. And for some reason, the Pictish chief has a shaved head, despite this never being the fashion among the Picts, who considered long hair a sign of strength and virility.
If you're looking for unrealistic, gratuitously violent killings set against a beautiful background (the entire film was shot on location in Scotland), you'll enjoy this film. If you're looking for a history lesson, look elsewhere.
Creators and Stars: Andreas Wisniewski, Axelle Carolyn, Dave Legeno, Dhaffer L'Abidine, Dominic West, J.J. Feild, Michael Fassbender, Neil Marshall, Olga Kurylenko, Paul Freeman.
Vocabulary Terms: Carlisle, centurion, frontier, Picts, Romans, Scotland, York.
The DVD is available here.
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