Neil Marshall has proven himself over time to be a filmmaker who is able to move from style to style, genre to genre, and he seems to understand that the films he makes are entertainment, pure and simple. Watching "The Descent" in a dark theater that's completely packed is a great exercise in tension. His "Doomsday" is one of the most remarkable examples of one filmmaker paying homage to the style and technique of another filmmaker I can recall. He has a great sense of camera and energy, and even when I don't love his movies, I respect the craft and the confidence.
"Centurion," his latest, attempts to answer the question of what happened to Rome's legendary Ninth Legion, and it's a bloody, gritty, simple chase film that gives Michael Fassbender a lead role that could easily turn him into a viable action hero in big Hollywood films. So far, he's proven himself to be a gifted and interesting actor in films like Steve McQueen's "Hunger," Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," and the underseen "Fish Tank" from earlier this year. He's a bit of a chameleon, and he's one of those actors who pushes his body to extremes depending on the role. For "Hunger," where he played an Irish hunger striker, he looked like he was on the verge of death, emaciated and frail. In "Centurion," he's preposterously ripped, and he handles himself like an old pro in the fight sequences. It's an impressive piece of work, and he grounds the film with his performance.