"The Last Duel" (2021)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Eric Jager (book), Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Harriet Walter, Ben Affleck, Marton Csokas, Alex Lawther, William Houston, Oliver Cotton, Ian Pirie, Michael McElhatton
Rated: R for strong violence including sexual assault, sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language
Runtime: 2h 32m
Genre: Action | Drama | History | Thriller
Country: United States | United Kingdom
Language: English | German | French | Latin
Available on: Various VOD platforms
"King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel."
You might like this if you like: Action, Dramas, History, Thrillers, Ridley Scott, Eric Jager, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Harriet Walter, Ben Affleck, Marton Csokas, Alex Lawther, William Houston, Oliver Cotton, Ian Pirie, Michael McElhatton
Jodie Comer in 'The Last Duel' (2021)
When I first heard about this film I was mildly intrigued, but wasn’t necessarily jumping at it. It looked like a generic, Medieval genre piece by the great Ridley Scott. It just didn’t seem like the time for an all white cast about two males just going at it on horses with sticks. It looked gorgeous, but from the trailer (and maybe that was my mistake), I didn’t really know what I was in for when going in. I still am for more people of color in this year’s leading films, but this did end up being different from what I what I expected.
This film did come out right around the time Ridley Scott chose to join the old white men’s club of attacking superhero movies, so that turned me off initially, but god dammit, I love Ridley Scott movies. His work is legendary to me and he is known for being pretty good at doing period pieces (at least I think so).
Matt Damon in 'The Last Duel' (2021)
Look, I get that the film happened to be of a time that was inherently different and lacked people of color, I don’t want history to be changed or feel it’s just doing it for the times, but I think choosing the right stories to tell in the time you’re living in is important. This film does touch on important issues, heavily, but again, I could NOT tell that from the trailer at all. Not that I was analyzing the trailer that much, but it was not the takeaway I got when briefly watching it. It’s not perfect, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover is what I learned.
Adam Driver in 'The Last Duel' (2021)
The first two chapters I enjoyed, but wasn’t 100% sure what to think.. I was uncomfortable at the obvious scenes, I get that it was all about perspectives, but I didn’t love having to watch that scene twice which didn’t feel that much different in all honesty. Just isn’t going to be a film I’ll have on rewatch a whole lot, but I still think it is important. The irony I’m feeling though is that these two men still take up so much screen time and just feels overly rampant and even though it’s about that in some ways, I still wanted more of Jodie Comer’s character and other female voices.
I felt a little better after reading some things about it and on why Jodie wanted to take this role, but I still think we can do better in the future.
Ben Affleck in 'The Last Duel' (2021)
Now I’ve loved Matt Damon and Ben Affleck ever since ‘Good Will Hunting’, and Adam Driver even more with HBO’s ‘Girls’ and I am a fan of his ‘Kylo Ren’ in JJ Abrams ‘Star Wars’. They were all great, Affleck really felt like he was doing something different that I hadn’t seen him in before whereas the others I felt were just good enough for the movie.
Written by Sam Gall on Dec 21, 2021
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
"It's Comer who saves it from being a cold, intellectual exercise in storytelling. The subtle modulations in her performance within each segment is more effective than the film's violent ending." - Wenlei Ma, News.com.au
"It's tempting to think "The Last Duel" should have just been Marguerite's account, but so much of the film's pleasure is seeing Damon, Affleck and Driver gradually dismantle and even lampoon their own charms." -
"Depending on who you talk to, the film is either one of the worst or one of the best films to be underseen in 2021, which, I think, goes to show just how much perspective matters in real or imagined life." - Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
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