THE LAST DUEL (2021)
An intricate tale of truth and justice, The Last Duel overcomes a frustratingly choppy start to deliver an intriguing, well-acted powerhouse of a film that is based on true events.
When Marguerite Carrouges (Jodie Comer) brings allegations of rape against King Charles VI’s squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), her husband Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) seeks a trial that results the King declaring that the dispute be settled by a duel. Director Ridley Scott’s latest picture is a France-set narrative that takes a unique, enthralling approach to storytelling, presenting the story from three different viewpoints via three different chapters. Damon kicks off the drama with a solid performance buried amongst a disjointed first chapter that jumps around in confusing and quick fashion. Driver ultimately sets the course right through his flawless portrayal, rivaled in the film only by Jodie Comer’s intense, riveting turn. Ben Affleck, here in a supporting role decked out in makeup that has been quite divisive, brings the humor throughout the film and clearly is having a blast doing so.
Peppered with loud, violent action, The Last Duel thrives on the powerful core drama that brings the sexist and corrupt society of 14th century France to light. Comer’s Marguerite speaks out at a time when women were silenced, labeled as their man’s property and routinely abused as part of an accepted norm. Though some pay take issue with the character’s questioning of her choices late in the film, her inspiration shines through by the end, a portrayal of her strength and conviction. It all culminates in a duel between Damon and Driver’s characters that is brutal, unforgiving, and filmed in a way that brings the viewers into the fray.
The Last Duel is a film with grand scale that only Scott can maneuver and, though it stumbles out of the gate, it quickly regains its footing to deliver a sweeping tale that must be seen on the big screen.
The Last Duel hits theaters on October 15th, 2021.
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