By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Ridley Scott’s newest movie tells a compelling true story that takes place in 14th century France, but certainly has some relevance in the modern world, as it deals with the repercussions of sexual assault. In this era, when men are being held more accountable for misogyny and sex crimes, The Last Duel resonates solidly, but also reflects the systemic issues and the alarmingly problematic mind set of the people of its time. The result is a riveting and troubling movie that demands its audiences to realize that crimes against women have troubled our world for many generations.

Matt Damon stars as Jean de Carrouges, a knight dedicated to fighting on behalf of the monarchy of France. While de Carrouges has endured the physical wounds, scars, and psychological trauma of his work, he manages to find some happiness in life when he marries Margueritte (Jodie Comer). Because of the politics of the time, and his troubled relationship with Count Pierre de Alençon (Ben Affleck), Jean struggles to provide his beloved wife with all that would make her completely happy. His problems get further complicated after his good friend Jacque Le Gris (Adam Driver) ends up working for Count Pierre and benefits from his employer’s friendship and admiration. As both Le Gris and de Carrouges attempt to maintain amicable relations, their relationship takes a turn for the worse when Le Gris beomes attracted to Marguerite and his jealousy of his friend’s marriage to her blossoms.

With beautifully bleak cinematography by Dariusz Wolski and a powerful story with solid character development, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel offers something very close to Shakespearian drama, mixed with modern relevance and some impressive battle sequences. Scott and writers Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon deliver a period piece that has great story telling, well-conceived characters and a mostly good grasp of the source material. Based on the book, The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France, the movie succeeds swimmingly as a relationship drama and reflects a time when crimes against women were not treated as seriously as they are now.

My only complaint about the movie, and this is a minor one, is the lack of consistent accents when it comes to the actors. This issue can be distracting for audiences wanting to be immersed in this era and setting. Regardless of this minor quiblle of mine, I feel that the actors perform very well with Damon, Comer, and Driver puting much heart into their roles. In addition to the leads, I have to say the Ben Affleck manages to steal scenes and shine hilariously as the decadent and unapologetically snobby Count Pierre de Alençon. It is particularly fun to see him antagonize and insult Matt Damon’s character, considering that the two actors have been good friends for so long.

While not a top tier entry from Ridley Scott, The Last Duel is still a great contribution to movies and shows that even a seemngly run-of-the-mill Medieval movie can still have relevance to the problems we continue to face in our era. It is a movie I definitely recommend and encourage my readers to enjoy in their local cinema.

Leave Your Comments

Share This