Sir Ridley Scott
Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver
Action, Drama, History
Rated: R for strong violence including sexual assault, sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language.
‘The Last Duel’ is based on the 2004 book ‘The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France’. The story shows the perspectives of the assailant Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), the accuser Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and the victim Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) and the events leading up to one of the last duels ever done in France.
Without going into too much detail, ‘The Last Duel’ tells a very tragic tale that is acted in some performances brilliantly, while some choices in the performances and narrative left me wondering if there could have been more.
Jodie Comer’s performance towers among the rest. In the 14th century, there are eerily similar parallels to what how women are treated even today when having to endure a sexual assault. Her performance will undoubtedly be a Oscar contender and we should be so lucky for her nomination.
On the male side we have strong supporting performances from Ben Affleck and Adam Drivers characters. There was a unique contemporary feel to their relationship that again draws many parallels to new stories today and how we defend bad people. Adam Driver is able to play both good and bad and his characters turn is truly terrifying, more-so than Kylo Ren could ever hope to be. The issue that comes from Affleck and Matt Damons performances are mainly the lack of accents to place them in the time we’re telling the story in. Felt often jarring and I wish they had made more of an effort to be more accurate in that regard.
Additionally though I do enjoy the non-linear storytelling and even presenting it like a court drama with knights and violence, when they told the different perspectives of the case, they never really felt different enough from each other when I feel there could have been more to each chapter.
Overall, ‘The Last Duel’ is a gripping medieval court drama with a heartbreaking and inspiring performance by Jodie Comer, and wonderful supporting performances from Ben Affleck and Adam Driver. The directing by Ridley Scott is tremendous, albeit some of the storylines can be repetitive rather than informative. There are continuity issues like accents, etc. but that doesn’t take away from the grimly, bloody, and terrible truths of being a woman in the 14th century.