is a 2010 British historical action-war film directed by Neil Marshall ,loosely based on the legend of the massacre of the Ninth Legion in Caledonia in the early second century AD. The film stars Michael Fassbender , Olga Kurylenko , Dominic West and Liam Cunningham . While the film received mixed to positive reviews, it did very poorly at the box office , only earning one-half of its $12 M budget.
Beginning in 117 AD, the narrative opens with a Roman soldier fleeing across a snowy landscape, saying;"My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story."
The Romans have been unable to fully conquer Britain, meeting the fiercest resistance in the north, and the Picts of Alba are engaging in a guerrilla campaign against the Roman forts along the Glenblocker line and the Gask Ridge at the southern border of the Scottish Highlands . At Pinnata Castra , the Picts ambush and destroy the entire garrison, taking only one survivor for questioning, the centurion Quintus Dias, because Dias can speak the Pictish tongue . Taken prisoner by Vortix, Dias is brought to the Pict king Gorlacon who has united the northern tribes; Dias is brutally interrogated in the presence of the leader's son, who is forced to watch. Dias later escapes on foot, still with his hands bound.
Gnaeus Julius Agricola , the Roman governor of Britannia , wants to obtain favour with the Roman Senate , hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion , under General Titus Flavius Virilus, to eradicate the Pictish threat and provides him with a female Celtic Brigantian scout called Etain. As the legion marches north they encounter Dias and rescue him from three of Gorlacon's men. Dias tells Virilus of his encounter with Gorlacon and the general discovers that Dias' father was a famous gladiator whom he had seen fight. Dias befriends two Roman officers, a veteran named Bothos and a young Roman soldier named Thax.
Etain betrays the legion to Gorlacon, leading them into an ambush where they are annihilated. The general is captured, while Dias, Bothos, and Thax survive, along with four others: "Brick"; two Greco-Roman legionaries named Macros and Leonidas; and Tarak, a cook from the Hindu Kush . They set out to rescue general Virilus and, after a few days' travel, they find him at Gorlacon's village and sneak in at nightfall. Failing to break his chains, he orders them to leave him and get back to Roman territory. During the attack, Thax kills Gorlacon's young son and recovers Virilus' helmet.
The next morning the general is confronted by Gorlacon, who explains that the iron chains were too brittle to pry apart and that his would-be rescuers should have shattered them instead of attempting to pry them loose. As Etain steps forward, Virilus is told the history of Etain: her father was killed and her mother raped and killed by Roman soldiers, who then raped her and cut out her tongue so she would be unable to tell anyone. She was found by the Picts and trained as a hunter and tracker, then sent back to the Romans to deceive them. He is then given a sword and made to duel with Etain, who kills him.
The seven Romans plan to travel north (which is away from Roman territory) to throw the Picts off their trail, then head west, and then south. Meanwhile, Etain, Aeron, Vortix and a detachment of seven Pictish warriors are sent to kill them. After several days' pursuit they catch up with the fugitives, who jump off a cliff into a river. Tarak is killed before he can jump, Macros and Thax become separated from the others and see a wolf close-by. Dias and his group camp for the night, while their trackers set up camp nearby. Dias and Brick launch a night raid on the enemy camp, killing two men and severely wounding a third, but cannot find Etain. Dias learns of the death of Gorlacon's son, and that the king has sworn vengeance on their heads. Etain is absent, as she has launched her own attack on the Roman's campsite. Dias and Brick return to their camp, only to discover that Leonidas has been killed and Bothos injured.
Macros and Thax are running from a wolf pack. Thax falls, with the wolves in close pursuit, and cries out to his comrade for help. Macros returns to help him and Thax slices through Macros' hamstrings to prevent him from standing, allowing Thax to escape while the wolves attack and devour Macros. Dias, Bothos and Brick find a hut in the forest where they befriend Arianne, a Pict exile accused of witchcraft . She shelters them, provides food and medical attention. When Etain comes the following day, Arianne confronts her while the Romans hide in her grain store under the floorboards. The next morning they leave Arianne, who provides them with enough food to travel to a nearby Roman garrison.
They find the garrison abandoned, an order pinned to a post says that the Roman troops have retreated south, by the orders of Emperor Hadrian . As they see Etain and her group of Picts approach, they set up a defensive position inside the fort. Bothos kills Vortix and a female warrior, Dias kills two Picts, and Brick kills Aeron and the last Pict warrior; however, before the Picts are defeated, Brick is killed by a spear thrown by Etain whom Dias then kills.
Dias and Bothos continue southwards and are reunited with Thax. Upon reaching Hadrian's Wall which is beginning construction, Thax (afraid that Dias will report his actions) threatens Dias and they fight, with Dias killing Thax. Bothos, joyfully riding towards the Romans, is mistaken for a Pict and shot by an archer. When Dias enters the camp he reports to governor Agricola, who is concerned that news of the Legion's annihilation might cause other tribes to rise up against them. He is also fearful of his record being tainted by a military failure, and decides that the Ninth Legion's fate should remain a mystery and Dias must be killed. Dias manages to foil the attempt on his life, though he is grievously wounded in the thigh during the fracas, and Agricola's daughter tells him that he is too much of a risk. He escapes the camp and returns to Arianne in the forest. As the weakened Dias lies in her arms by the stream, he and Arianne kiss. The film ends with Quintus Dias adjusting the narrative of the film's opening line;
"My name is Quintus Dias. I am a fugitive of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story."