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The Last Duel - Movie Review

The Last Duel

“God will not punish those who tell the truth.”

One story – three conflicting points of view – two possible outcomes. Though set in the end of the long-ago time of the late 14th century, director Ridley Scott’s newest film, The Last Duel (one of two films from the filmmaking legend we get this year!), proves itself to be a societally relevant tale with a story structure that greatly benefits the subject matter and the film as a whole.

"Comer is not just a scene-stealer…she robs the whole damn show from the rest of the cast"


The story itself, though inspired by a true event, is not particularly unique or thrilling, but many film fans will recognize and appreciate the Rashomon-style in which the tale is recounted, making the two-hour-and-thirty-three-minute runtime absolutely fly by. 

Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), wife of the knight, Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) claims that she has been raped, but not just by anyone. She claims that Jean de Carrouge’s old war friend and squire, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) is her assailant. Following the reveal of this horrendous news to him, Carrouges challenges Le Gris to a duel to the death – the last legally sanctioned duel in France.

The film opens with the preparations and very beginning of the bloody duel, but the movie quickly takes us back to the events that lead up to the pivotal moment. Chapter I tells Jean de Carrouges’ perspective - Chapter II tells Jacques Le Gris’ – and Chapter III tells Marguerite’s with the conclusion of the duel in all of its epic fashion.

As it is told from three different perspectives, the film offers a chance for the audience to draw their own conclusions by the time the film ends. Or does it really? Watching Carrouges’ story, Le Gris of course gets framed as the ungrateful and unloyal friend in Carrouges’ bitter point of view. But perhaps Le Gris will show himself in a better light.The Last Duel

When the narrative shifts to Le Gris, the mystery of whether or not he committed the crime quickly disappears. Rather, it doubles-down more on Le Gris’ carelessness and the misunderstanding of “nuances” during a woman’s “natural” protestations toward sexual advances that would qualify what he did as rape. By the time we get to Marguerite’s story, it is revealed that neither of the men’s stories are accurate and in fact, she herself is risking her own life just as much as the two men are.

This is where the highlight of the film comes in.  Comer is not just a scene-stealer…she robs the whole damn show from the rest of the cast. She’s absolutely gut-wrenching going from the shy and delicate figure of Carrouges and Le Gris’ stories to the terrified yet uncompromising woman of her own tale. Incredibly nuanced and powerful, her performance is sure to gain her a nomination for the next Academy Awards. 

As for Ridley’s job, well…I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you of his talent. You already know it is wonderfully directed. However, this film is probably not going to be on many “Top Ten Ridley Scott Movies” lists. Overall, it is not one of the must-see films of the year, but if you have some time and want to see some epic sword fights, then go sit your butt down on a comfy theater seat and enjoy.

The Last Duel is now playing in theaters.

3/5 stars

 

Film Details

The Last Duel

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence including sexual assault, sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language.
Runtime:
152 mins
Director
: Ridley Scott
Writer:
Nicole Holofcener; Ben Affleck; Matt Damon
Cast:
Matt Damon; Adam Driver; Jodie Comer
Genre
: Action | Drama
Tagline:
The true story of a woman who defied a nation and defied history.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The truth does not matter, there is only the power of men."
Theatrical Distributor:
20th Century Studios
Official Site: https://www.20thcenturystudios.com/movies/the-last-duel
Release Date:
October 15, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

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The Last Duel

 

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