The Last Duel (2021) Poster

(2021)

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8/10
Great, original film that gets better and better the further into it you get
grantss30 December 2021
France, late-14th century. Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris were friends but a series of disagreements has soured their relationship. These animosities are stoked to deadly feud when de Carrouges's wife, Marguerite, accuses Le Gris of raping her. When all other avenues of justice are exhausted, de Carrouges takes the only option left to him: a duel to the death.

Great drama, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Ridley Scott's first film as a director was "The Duellists" (1977). Set during the Napoleonic era, two French army officers engage in a series of duels over a period of 15 years over a matter of honour. From the basic description I saw of The Last Duel I expected this to be a rehash of that so set my expectations accordingly.

Turns out The Last Duel is very different to The Duellists and thankfully so (not that The Duellists was bad - in fact it's a great film - but because a remake of it would be fairly boring). It starts conventionally enough: over a span of 16 years we see de Carrouges's view of the sequence of events. As this sets the scene for the remainder of the movie the de Carrouges part is mildly interesting but not overly engaging. At this point the film seemed like just another feud-leading-to-climactic-fight-scene.

What happens next elevates the film above that. We now see the events of the last 16 years from Le Gris's perspective. De Carrouges no longer looks like the saintly hero and Le Gris could be the one we're supposed to root for. The film is now looking like a Rashomon-type movie, i.e. Different perspectives, which one is correct?

However, it is the final part, Marguerite's view, that elevates the film to greatness. While Le Gris's view made the film intriguing it ends with any ambiguity to the course of events extinguished. This is where Scott, Damon and Affleck missed a trick - by making it clear what the truth is so soon they remove the mystery from the plot.

In the long run it doesn't matter too much as it is soon clear that the main theme is not of a feud, honour satisfied or how different people can have different perspectives of the same event but one of injustice. Marguerite's part is incredibly powerful and engaging and makes for compelling viewing.

This is all rounded off with a brutally realistic fight scene at the end. I can't think of a film that has shown medieval fighting depicted so accurately or graphically.

Ultimately a very well made, intelligent, highly original film with multiple layers and themes. Production values are excellent: every detail seems exactly like it would have been in the 14th century. All this makes for an incredibly realistic, historically accurate film.

Performances are spot on: Matt Damon (as de Carrouges), Adam Driver (as Le Gris) and Jodie Comer (as Marguerite) are excellent in the lead roles. Ben Affleck is almost unrecognisable as Count Pierre d'Alençon and puts in a solid performance. (His appearance was a bit distracting though: he kept reminding me of Will Ferrell's character in Zoolander!).

Also interesting to see Alex Lawther (of "The End of the ... World" fame) as King Charles VI. He provides some of the lighter moments of the film as he often seems to find deadly serious, life-and-death moments quite amusing. King Charles VI was only 16-18 years old at the time so I thought this was to show that he was really just a boy, out of his depth. Turns out this wasn't just there for levity but was a realistic portrayal of King Charles VI's character as he was known to have suffered from mental illness and psychosis. Yet another example of the historical accuracy involved.
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impressive
Kirpianuscus26 December 2021
The basic motif to admire this film is the image of Dariusz Wolski. Earth colors, falls and early springs, winter and tones of browns and gray.

The second is the acting and the most impressive work seems be by Jodie Comer.

Not the last - the force of gifts and precision of Ridley Scott to propose a beautiful exploration of contemporary problems.

It is an impressive film for themes and for dialogues , for confrontations and fight scenes and for the wake up of truths. A Medieval story very modern in its fundamental traits. A chain of confirmations about actors talent, an admirable construction of the motives, reactions and answers of characters.

Short, a great film and proof of a provocative art of unique director.
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9/10
Scott returns to form
Come-and-Review13 September 2021
Seen the film at a screening at the Venice Film Festival.

Even if there is no way of telling that what The Last Duel portrays is entirely how the events took place, or as authentic as it seems to be in depicting middle ages, one thing is certain: it belongs to Ridley Scott's better works, and proves that the 84-year-old filmmaker is still able to deliver memorable films.

The dramatization takes on a three act narrative frame that resembles partly that of Kurosawa's masterpiece Rashomon: three chapters narrate the events, each from the point of view of one of the three protagonists, the two duellists and Marguerite.

The film clearly seeks a historical authenticity, and seems to succeed at achieving it. The almost word-by-word, blow-by-blow adherence to the accounts of the duel seem to confirm such an achievement, and is in a way reminiscent of Scott's debut film The Duellists, known for its methodical reconstruction.

The true essence of this film's stance is the idea that through the study of history more can be learnt about the contemporary world, the past as a mirror of the present.

The Last Duel is, in the end, a film that deals with the present by showing the past, and does so in an exquisite and entertaining fashion.

(extract from my review on comeandreview)
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7/10
repeating structure
SnoopyStyle2 December 2021
It's 14th century France. Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) are comrades-in-arms and best of friends. They are given a new lord in Count Pierre d'Alençon (Ben Affleck). While Jacques becomes the Count's favorite, Jean falls further and further out of favor. It doesn't help that Jean has married Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) which leads to complications.

This is directed by Ridley Scott. The structure divides the movie into three chapters. Each chapter takes the point of view from Jean, Jacques, and finally Marguerite. This is good but the Rashomon structure does lead to the feeling of repetition. Then there are the two scenes devoted to the central issue. The one depicting Jacques' point of view needs to be more on his side. After all, this is a case of his says, she says. The two sections leave the question as a degree rather than a decision. There is no question to the basic case. That may be deliberate but it does not increase the tension. The intensity needs to be higher although I do like the actual duel. There is a reality in the brutal repeated battering.
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6/10
Way Too Long
Tweetienator1 December 2021
The Last Duel got some strong points - acting is good and the production fine. What drags the movie down for me is the duration and somehow I was never really engaged with the main body of the story (the crime), so I had from time to time really to fight to keep my attention on the movie - to use Akira Kurosawa's different perspective technique (Rashomon) was in my opinion no wise choice. What's left to say? Best parts of the movie are for certain the battle scenes and the duel in the end, and the high production value regarding settings, costumes etc. The Last Duel - for sure no bad movie but belongs certainly not to the best of Ridley Scott's work.
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9/10
'Rashomon' for the 'Gladiator' generation.
MOscarbradley3 December 2021
It's a brave man who will tell his tale in the manner of "Rashomon", particularly when he's as reliant on CGI as Ridley Scott is here but then Scott, now 84, has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Even without its 'Rashomon'-style telling, (different versions of the same events), setting your dark epic at the end of the Dark Ages, risks alienating your audience. "The Last Duel" is said to be based on true events but whose truth? In the end that hardly matters. Messing with the narrative is a good deal of the fun and Scott certainly gives us a big, bloody and savage movie. Indeed of all his films this could be the one most likely to appeal to fans of "Gladiator".

It's a fantastic looking film, stunningly shot by the great Dariusz Wolski and superbly designed but fidelity to the period doesn't really extend to the screenplay, co-written by co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck together with Nicole Holofcener from Eric Jager's book, and it's all the better for it. The 21st century colloquialisms give the movie an accessibility it might otherwise have lacked. Unfortunately neither Damon nor Adam Driver add much depth to their characters though an almost unrecognisable Ben Affleck seems to be enjoying himself and a post-Killing Eve Jodie Comer has no problem walking off with the movie as the wife who may or may not have been raped.

Indeed, there is so much about "The Last Duel" that is smart, funny and totally unexpected that if just might turn out to be the most unlikely multiplex movie of the year but whether audiences respond to a movie largely devoid of action until the final duel is a different matter. This isn't Marvel territory but a movie for grown-ups that deserves a grown-up audience. Let's hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
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5/10
A Series of Unpleasant Events
questl-1859228 December 2021
It's amazing how the little things can really drag a movie down sometimes. The Last Duel really suffered that with me, which is a shame because it's a film about a really important subject with some great talent and wonderful acting. What hurts it for me though is the pacing, the Affleck and the charisma.

The film is broken into three parts, exploring the perspectives from each side of the central event. This is a valuable perspective to have and I think this is a fascinating way to go about it but it felt so chunky to me, lingering and jumping, dragging and skipping at times. There was no sense of time for me, no sense of this being a prolonged thing save the couple mentions of "I'll be gone a couple months." I think this is just the risk taken when doing this sort of three part, perspective piece though. They have to jump around and move quickly through some stuff and linger on others based on each character, I just found it distracting.

Almost as distracting as Affleck. Seriously, what's going on with this guy? Sometimes he's great and then sometimes he shows up as the OG Dark Age Juggalo that feels completely out of place in this entire experience. He is in a whole other movie and whoever's in charge failed to tell him this is a bleak period piece and not a remake of Caligula. This is really impressive considering he was one of the people in charge, which makes it feel a bit more like he just wanted to do something and he's the boss so who's going to stop him?

Speaking of bleak, that's all this movie is. From the color filter, to the actions on the screen, the characters we're presented with, everything is a downer. Incidentally, that makes Affleck's character seem even more out of place but I digress. Comer is doing something and absolutely gets you to feel for her, but only because of how utterly miserable and tragic her life is. Driver is a terrible man with illusions of being a romantic. Damon is that guy that would go to some kids birthday party and remind everyone that children are dying all over the world because he didn't get a corner slice and everyone needs to be miserable for not worshiping him.

Look, this is the tragic tale of a woman who is sexually assaulted in a world where she has no rights and must rely on the men around her to do what's right, which seems increasingly unlikely. The parallels it makes to modern times are undeniably poignant and the visceral way in which it portrays the act is hard to watch and it should be. It's a horrific thing and it should seem like it. I could just go for one shred of light piercing through the grime of this world, a shred of something other than despair and damnation. Maybe one moment where it seems like Damon's character actually gives a damn about Comer's or a sweet moment between her and... Anyone! Anyone at all. When it's bleak followed by despair, followed by depression, followed by hopelessness for two and a half hours, it's hard to walk away from it and feel good about the experience. From a cursory glance though, I'm in the minority on this and to that end I do think this is worth checking out but with the warning that this is very dark and covers some very difficult, potentially triggering issues and it doesn't shy away from them.
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5/10
not that good
Horror_Flick_Fanatic3 December 2021
This film seems overrated to me. Sure, Ridley Scott is a good director, and it shows in the film. But the old English dialog in medieval France with modern ideals just didn't jive for me. The film never felt like the 1300s. I don't think this film was cast well. It seems they added top names to the cast list to sell the film, but Affleck, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck just wasn't a good combination. Jodie Comer making faces and rolling her eyes at the camera just didn't fit the part of a woman of the medieval time period. Maybe a 2021 princess, but not a medieval woman.
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6/10. Lots to like, but a number of narrative problems as well
random-7077827 September 2021
Firstly Ridley Scott's talent as a director is undeniable. And it is for the most part well displayed in "The Last Duel." Secondly I was pleasantly surprised at Matt Damon's acting chops in the film. I consider Damon a yeoman talent. Certainly not top top tier actor, but a very good one, and he does very vey well in the film. I did not think Adam Driver, who has a stunning range in his career did well in this part. Jodie Comer, after you have seen her in a few roles seems to be repetitive and I was not impressed with her portrayal of her role in Duel.

But my main impression is that aside from a number of really dramatic action sequences, the narrative inappropriately tries to impose modern mores. This just doesn't work. It is a jarring anachronism given this is set in late medieval, pre-Enlightenment times. Similar to the problem in the narrative in "Kingdom of Heaven" were historians critiqued the narrative element of having the lead characters on both sides displaying modern and thus utterly artificial views of tolerance that were manifestly not present in anyone at the time the piece was set. With Dual and Kingdom one gets the feeling of a fourth wall-like didactic lecture to audience.

Lastly to those who say noting the similarity with Rashomon is wrong, OI can only say you havent seen Rashomon. The Last Duel has been called " "Rashomon crossed with #MeToo" and "Ridly Scott's Rashomon."

I saw this Athens Film Festival while in Greece on business. 6/10.
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6/10
Could have been much better
Movi3DO18 October 2021
Oh it's Mr. Steal yo girl

Based on a true story, the movie told the event that led to the duel between a knight and a squire whose friendship turned ugly.

The cast of this movie alone excited me. We got Jason Bourne, Kylo Ren, and Batman. And they were all solid in their roles.

However, I had a major problem with the storytelling. The plot was told in 3 separate chapters with each from a character's perspective. This was meant to fill in the blank and reveal major twists to the story. The problem is that the story itself was too simple for this style of storytelling to work. Chapter 1 and 2 were enough for me to comprehend the whole story and had good understanding of the characters. Many scenes were repeated in the same way without any unique look from the characters. This led to the runtime feeling too stretched out. I think 30 minutes could be cut off and the story would still be coherent.

I would have been entirely bored of the movie if not for the duel itself. That duel was the only unpredictable part of the story, and Matt Damon and Adam Driver (or their stunt double idk) performed the fight very well. There was good amount of blood and intensity to made me excited.

Overall, despite the great concluding duel, the storytelling made for a disappointing movie. 6/10.
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6/10
An Uphill Battle
nlsteven-attheMovies1 November 2021
The Last Duel is a mixed bag of good and bad. Its highlights include its #MeToo message, an intense duel scene, which recalls Ridley Scott's brilliant work on Gladiator, brilliant performances by Adam Driver and Jodie Comer and breathtaking location cinematography by Darius Wolski. Its biggest letdown is its screenplay, which tells the rape story in three alternative versions, rendering the film repetitive and slow-moving. I also can't get past how disappointing and unattractive Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are in their overdue comeback roles together.
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9/10
Ridley Scott is the Master of this Genre for a reason
emiraktel-271017 September 2021
After Good Will Hunting I was shocked why Ben Affleck and Matt Damon didn't write any screenplay together. Well, our wait is over because they have done a brave move, but this time it doesn't have that Hollywood storytelling vibe on it. This time, it is more experimental and different, they went for a new storytelling wave. (with help of Nicole Holofcener) Best director you can find for this kind of visual storytelling is Ridley Scott, and believe me, he's still top of his game. To be honest I don't think that Gladiator was a best picture because of Ridley's effort, I think it was Russel's incredible performance. But this movie shines because of Ridley's awesome visual style.

To talk about performances in this movie, Jodie has the lead, she can get awards buzz after this film. She plays her character from different perspectives, it is not an easy thing to do but Jodie does it beautifuly. Matt Damon makes his mark, after Ben Affleck's drop from the other lead role Adam Diver tooks it and I got to say it is an impressive casting, because, as a antagonist Adam has that villain look real good. Ben Affleck steals the show everytime he is on the screen, just like in Good Will Hunting his side character is real fun to watch.

Overall it is really a brave movie, Hollywood doesn't make these kinds of movies, but they should make these kinds of auteur movies more...
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4/10
Nothings Fair, it's Love & War...
Xstal29 November 2021
... In the heads you win, tales you lose ducking stool ultimatums of matrimonial medieval French law, but it's as dull as ditchwater and a supreme bore, without legacy, identity - encore no more. It may be based on something but there's contrivance at its core, and you'll get very little from it, except to snore and snore and snore some more.
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8/10
Well acted, with an great premise, but too long and a bit pretentious
siderite7 December 2021
I welcome this new writing collaboration between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. With a fantastic cast, very well acted and with realistic sets, it tells the story of the last "legal duel" in France, or a fight to the death between two men to settle a legal dispute, in this case the rape of a wife, leading to damage of property. Composed in the style of Rashomon, it shows the same sordid story from three different points of view, neither of them proclaimed as truth (except by a very cowardly fade out in the case of the third act). It is difficult not to enjoy the film with such talented people working for it, but unfortunately the structure and the length of the film make it feel a little slow. I mean, yeah, it's the middle ages, slow was the default value, but still.

This is based on a book, so the scenes and the story are pretty accurate. When people start complaining about this and that, you just have to ask them if it's like in the book, researched and written in years by a university professor of Medieval English literature. It's about how women were property, men were crazy and everybody was living in drafty dirty places and fought wars for no good reason all the time. Basically feudalism was bad. Yet one has to wonder, if they had the same story told about three times, how much of the book was preserved and how much of Eric Jager's effort was lost? Perhaps, if you are passionate about the subject of feminine rights in the 14th century you should get reading instead of watching the film.

Bottom line: very well done, but none of it is meant to be entertaining. There is no fun, little action, limited character interaction. Great acting fills a bit of the void, and the subject is kind of engaging, but after two hours and a half of this you're just glad it's over.
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6/10
visceral violence is stunning
ferguson-624 February 2022
Greetings again from the darkness. This review comes a bit late in regards to last year's release date, but one of the most fun things about the film was the veteran director's response to it being one of the biggest box office 'bombs' of 2021. Ridley Scott's blamed those of a certain age group, as he criticized millennials for being too attached to their cell phones to recognize an interesting, informative, and entertaining movie. Octogenarian Scott knows a bit about big budget films after directing such films as ALIEN (1979), BLADE RUNNER (1982), GLADIATOR (2000), PROMETHEUS (2012), and THE MARTIAN (2015), however we get the feeling that his reaction stemmed from ego, and overlooked the fact that older movie goers had not returned to the theater due to the ongoing pandemic.

Based on true events and Eric Jager's 2004 bestseller, "The Last Duel: A True Story of Trail by Combat in Medieval France", the script was co-written by Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck (the latter two being Oscar winners for their GOOD WILL HUNTING script in 1997). Damon and Affleck were initially set to co-star here, but scheduling conflicts forced to Affleck to take a lesser role, allowing for the addition of Adam Driver. The film opens in 1386 as Damon's Jean de Carrouges and Driver's Jacques Le Gris prepare for the titular jousting duel. We then flashback to a battle scene during the Hundred Year War featuring the two fighting alongside each other for France.

Utilizing a RASHOMON-inspired story structure, the film is divided into three "The Truth According to ..." chapters: Jean de Carrouges, Jacques Le Gris, and Lady Marguerite. A sly use of chapter titles informs us which of these is considered the real truth, but this is 14th century history, so there's always some doubt. And doubt plays a key role in the crucial conflict at the film's core. Carrouges and Le Gris have a friendship initially, however where Carrouges is hard and withdrawn, Le Gris is more politically savvy - building a relationship with Pierre (Affleck), powerful cousin to King Charles VI. The friendship dissolves into a rivalry that culminates with Carrouges's wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accusing Le Gris of rape. We see the three versions of this occurrence, leaving little doubt.

What stands out through most of the story is just how little power or standing women had during this time. It was a man's world and women were treated as property, much the same as a plat of land. But the most ludicrous commentary on the times is the hearing that results in the King authorizing the Duel that will determine a verdict. If Le Gris kills Carrouges, then it is determined that Marguerite was lying and she will be burned to death. If Carrouges kills Le Gris, then his old friend will be considered guilty of rape. Either way is supposedly "God's will".

Harriet Walter is perfectly creepy as Jean de Carrouges' mother, as is Alex Lawther as "The Mad" King Charles VI (age 15 at the time of the duel). I found Damon and Affleck to be distractions in their roles, but Ms. Comer was outstanding - believable in all aspects of the character. Ridley Scott delivered a realistic look to the film, and the brutality and visceral violence are true standouts, especially in the duel. Having the three perspectives worked well, and drove home the point of how delusional men were/are. Surprisingly, there is an undercurrent of contemporary attitude here, and for the most part, Mr. Scott was correct ... it's an entertaining film, even if it wasn't technically the "last" duel.
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8/10
Best Ridley Scott Movie in a lot of years!
lareval7 November 2021
Ridley Scott proves he is still capable of directing great movies with this last movie so far. A gripping and thrilling drama based on multiple unreliable narrators that builds slowly -yet never losing its addictive tempo- towards a sensational and terrifically tense climax. The performances are top notch, the visuals and the design are truly masterful and the script manages to invest throughout the entire runtime. While the pacing may drag a little bit sometimes, this is a must see movie! A perfect cure to predictable, CGI grotesque blockbusters that populate our screens. A more than welcome return of old school, truly remarkable storytelling. A must!
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10/10
It takes two to ...
kosmasp2 November 2021
... Duel I reckon should be the thing that would fill out the sentence. On the other hand, we are talking duels here, so maybe that is what I meant to write, yes? Also it takes more than two in this case ... but as with the role played here that seems almost sidelined by events and how the characters feel things happened.

You can call this feminist I reckon, on the other hand it may just be showing something that was way worse in the middle ages, but still exists in some way, shape or form today. Something that is shameful when it comes to the role of the woman and her standing in society. Also how she is being treated and seen by two men. I had absolutely no idea what the story was going to be (apperantly based on a true story and characters), so others may be at a (dis)advantage if they know more before watching it.

But even the trailer that seems to reveal a lot, does not give you everything. Which is good, because there is a lot to explore. And while we are revisiting certain moments and scenes, they are always kept fresh and with a new perspective. Ridley Scott is a master when it comes to the technical side of filmmaking there is no doubt about that, the story here is also so strong that both elements fuse into something quite incredible.

One thing I should notice. While there is not that much action considering the run time (which never gets dull or boring), when violence and fights erupt, they are as bloody and visceral as they can get! If you are faint hearted you may not want to watch certain scenes alltogether ... if you do you are in for a treat - no pun intended.
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"There is no 'right', there is only the power of men."
TxMike18 April 2022
So it was in the 14th century. This movie begins with a duel in 1386, but quickly jumps back to 1370. In all the story presented here spans 1370 to 1386, the Middle Ages where we had only begun to understand life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And women had no rights, the men were always the focus.

The editing used a common technique of showing us a glimpse of the end, a duel to the death in Paris, then flashing back to earlier times to build up to what factors led there. It also uses a less common but effective editing technique. We will see a key scene then later in the story we will see it again, either from a different perspective or with additional important information eliminated the first time. The overall effect is building of tension but also takes what could have been a 90-minute movie and turns it into a 150 minute movie.

Overall very interesting and well made. From what I can tell it appears to be fairly historically accurate. However it does seem to show the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris being built in the 1370s when in fact it was completed in the 1340s.

Nit pick aside I enjoyed it, at home on DVD from my public library. My wife skipped, not her kind of movie.
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8/10
Complex and Brutal
davidmvining20 October 2021
A $100 million epic that probably should have been made for significantly less considering the subject matter, Ridley Scott's The Last Duel is a hard-edged Rashomon-like look at a rape in Medieval France and the ensuing legal duel, sanctioned by Charles VI, the last in France's history. I'm going to be honest, I'm not surprised that it's bombing horribly at the box office. This isn't the sort of thing people want to buy popcorn to and go to the theaters to watch. It's too heavy.

The film is broken up into three chapters, each telling the story up to a certain point from the perspective of the three main characters. The first is centered around Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), a squire who led a hasty charge on an enemy line in battle that cost his lord, the Count Pierre d'Alencon (Ben Affleck), a key city. Alongside him in battle was Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) who helped Jean avoid death in battle and is also a squire under Pierre. The friendship between Jean and Jacques quickly devolves into a rivalry as Jacques gets closer to the Count, receiving more gifts for loyal service than Jean. Jean, meanwhile, meets the daughter of a pardoned traitor, Marguerite (Jodie Comer). Jean negotiates with her father for her dowery, agreeing upon a particular plot of land that gets snatched from him when Jacques, unknowing the pending engagement of Jean and Marguerite, agrees to accept that land for the rents that Marguerite's father owes Pierre, essentially (but not literally) stealing the land from Jean. Lawsuits are filed, egos are bruised, and Jean becomes increasingly bitter as he sees his lot in life lowered while Jacques seems to raise his own lots through no effort of his own.

Before going any further, I want to admire the film's structure. The first third, Jean de Carrouges' telling, is where we get the bulk of the world building, and it's important stuff for the story. It's not just about women being pawns in the games of powerful men. There's a lot of detail about how the feudal system in France worked. How squires reported to Counts who reported to Kings, about how lawsuits worked, and how finances worked. Everyone is always short of cash, and the only way Jean de Carrouges can get out is to go to war from plunder and prisoners to sell at ransom. He goes to war in Scotland for just this, returning with nothing, and needing to immediately go to Paris to receive payment from the crown for his efforts. When he comes home, Marguerite tells him that Jacques Le Gris showed up when she was alone and raped her. Jean believes her, and he pursues a course of action that leads to the King of France endorsing the legal duel.

The second section is Jacques Le Gris'. Where Jean's section showed a man perennially beaten down, Le Gris' shows a man of education and loose morals climbing the ladder of power easily. Much of his section takes place in Pierre's presence as he plays witty word games and joins Pierre in sex games with the pretty young women in Pierre's court (outside of Pierre's wife's presence, of course). He's also good with numbers and takes up Pierre's accounts, agreeing to make sense of the books but also go to the different tenants on Pierre's lands to pick up the missing rents. It's here, in Le Gris' section where we see that there are subtle but very interesting things happen. There's one particular moment that is in all three sections where Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris attempt to reconcile at the celebration of another squire's new child. In all three, a single line is uttered by different people about how no fight between squires should be allowed to continue for it is ruinous to all. In Jean's he speaks it, in Jacques' he speaks it, and in Marguerite's the other squire speaks it off camera. This is like the memories of the three reflecting back on the events from the end of the movie, wondering how they all got there.

The most important aspect of this difference is in the rape itself. Jacques loves (lusts after?) Marguerite, but it's mostly from afar. After a brief exchange at the celebration where both are revealed as book learned and witty, they spy each other in different places over the next few months. When Jacques sees Jean after Jean returns from Scotland on his way to Paris, Jacques decides that this brute of a man has left behind his beautiful, intelligent lady of a wife behind at home alone. He visits, enters her home through deception, and gets into her bedroom with her and no one else in the house. What follows is a recreation of an earlier scene from Pierre's bedroom where Jacques had chased another lady around a table in a game that led to consensual sex. You can see the mirror, but at the same time it's obvious that Marguerite doesn't want to participate. It's not playful, but it's definitely not consensual. However, from Jacques' point of view you can see how he might see it that way. As he explains to Pierre later, when the accusations are running around the country, Marguerite was a lady who just put up the normal objections, like the lady from the earlier scene.

The final third is Marguerite's point of view, and it provides more interesting context around both men. Her first scene is of Jean angrily arguing with her father about the loss in dowery with her father promising him that Marguerite will be fertile. The celebration scene clarifies a moment where she was dancing with Jean but looking at Jacques with her dialogue explaining about fake smiles getting people places rather than anger. There are scenes with Jean's mother, and the two really don't like each other. There are scenes of her sex with Jean which obviously pains her (the common belief at the time that women require "the little death", an orgasm, in order to conceive is mentioned by her doctor in reference to how she can't conceive). And, most importantly, there is the rape, which is a good bit more horrible from her perspective. We can see that Jacques was thinking that he was playful, but he's also far rougher with her and her protestations far more vocal. Also, Jean's reaction to the news if far less understanding that Jean's memory.

It all ends up with that titular duel, and Ridley Scott puts his trademarked look on the brutal fight that earns every bit of the R-rating. It is both satisfying in some ways and really empty in others, on purpose. Neither Jean nor Jacques are particularly good people. Even in their own tellings they're not really admirable at all. Jean is a thin-skinned and impulsive brute who got himself laughed out of court, and Jacques is a cruel womanizer. When one side wins, it's not the pure victory anyone really wants because motives, purposes, and intentions are all crossed and confused.

No, this really isn't something that was going to make its money back at the box office.

I loved it, though. It's a complex portrait of a brutal time filled with very good performances from everyone especially Jodie Comer as Marguerite and Ridley Scott's wonderful visual sense of grandeur. I would never have greenlit this movie with a $100 million budget (and a script that is rumored to be at least an hour longer than the final product) as a producer, but I'm glad it's here. It's a hard film, but I think it's ultimately very worthwhile.
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8/10
Slow, Suspenseful And Enjoyable
thomas-ero6 December 2021
If you want to watch something that has well-developed characters and plot and will really pull you in, give this a go.

It think the strongest thing about this movie is the storytelling, which is very mature, thoughtful and well-paced. It turns what would otherwise be another medieval action flick into an engrossing study about injustices, conflict and how human beings relate with each other. The acting is amazing and it's nice to see Ben Affleck in an unusual role, which he really nails.

Ridley Scott delivers again.
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6/10
Just Doesn't Work
bankofmarquis30 October 2021
With films such as GLADIATOR, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, ROBIN HOOD, EXODUS: GODS AND MONSTERS and the current THE LAST DUEL, Director Ridley Scott is single-handedly trying to keep alive the "Sword and Sandals" genre that was so much en vogue in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

However, he'll have to do better than THE LAST DUEL to keep the genre going.

Starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodi Comer, THE LAST DUEL tells the tale of the...well...Last Duel in France in the 1300's. The story tells the tale of 2 noblemen, their ups & downs and the accusation of the wife of one of them that the other raped her. The only way to solve the dispute is a duel to the death.

Following the format of such films as RASHOMON (1950) and, more recently, WRATH OF MAN (2021), THE LAST DUEL is told in 4 parts - telling the same story from different perspectives. But, unlike RASHOMON and (surprisingly) WRATH OF MAN which peeled the onion back during each different telling, adding a deeper and richer layer to the story each time, THE LAST DUEL pretty much tells the same story over and over, not really telling it differently and not really adding any layers to the story. You pretty much know before THE LAST DUEL who is innocent, who is guilty and how the duel is going to play out.

So, Director Scott will need to rely on the performances and the look and feel of the film to get the audience hooked and intrigued during this 2 hour and 32 minute epic, but the script (by Nicole Holofcener, Affleck & Damon just isn't up to the task.

The acting is...fine. Driver fares the best out of the 4 leads - probably because he is the actor most suited for this type of film than the others. Comer's part is underwritten and she has surprisingly little to do - which brings us to Affleck and Damon. Affleck has the showier role and provides a spark of interest in his limited time on the screen while Damon is dour and serious and trudges through the film - as does the audience.

Director Scott (ALIEN) brings professionalism to the proceedings and accurately depicts the look and feel of the time and stages the duel (and battle scenes) with a trained eye, but the characters/performances did not leave me with anyone to truly root for (or care about) and by the time we got to THE LAST DUEL, I just wanted it to be over.

Letter Grade: B-

6 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
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3/10
From the director who brought you Gladiator, brings you trash
Xavier_Stone17 October 2021
Gladiator was shown in 2000 and it was awesome, that's 20 years ago. Bringing up that movie from 20 years ago was persuasive enough to get me to watch, but it sure let me down. It's basically the same story told 3 different ways and at 2.5 hours it had better be a damn good duel scene.

It is not.

It's 6 minutes of mediocre fighting knights which includes slow motion and cuts to supporting actors/actresses. This director did Gladiator remember, and has seemed to have forgotten all that worked in that movie as this is downright amateurish.

Overall this movie is downright horrendous. From the poor Ben Affleck acting/muttering throughout and the poor lighting and darkness it seems to have been at night.

It seems Ridley was on a budget with this movie, every battle scene was a whopping 3 minutes of close ups and ending soon so as to keep the retakes to a minimum and not to use too many extras. Then the movie just ends abruptly.

Opening scene is the dueling knights getting prepped, then 2.4hrs of talking, then a 6 min duel. The End. Gimme my Oscar.
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1/10
Feels False from the Start
katharineshowalter17 October 2021
This never worked for me. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck just can't do period pieces. Their acting styles, their looks, their voices are just pure modern U. S. Adam Driver has much more range, but even here he's just Adam Driver playacting. It all seems like an overlong SNL sketch where you're waiting for a punchline. And just like on SNL frequently, it never arrives. Brit Jodie Comer is decent playing a modern French woman in Medieval times. Still, this has C-Suite "Who's hot right now?" casting all over it. An expensive-looking mess.
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1/10
Slow, Boring & ridiculous cast
kanifuker-8470830 November 2021
Afleck and Damon were awful and should not be cast in these roles whether it be French or English noblemen. The wigs and beards were hideous along with Afleck's acting. The movie itself is based on true events though it's not proven that Le Gris was actually guilty or even his right hand man did the dirty deed or even neither of them but the movie doesn't go into that side in any detail. Was she raped, who knows but her herself?.

Movie could have been done a whole whole lot better and with better casting, not one of Scott's best though the media calling it spectacular. These high scoring reviews are garbage and made up. Film is poor.
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3/10
Like watching 3 coats of paint dry
tomarm-2159623 October 2021
For some bizarre, inexplicable reason they decided to make a Rashomon type movie - i.e. The same events re a woman's rape accusation, told from 3 different perspectives. Problem is none of those perspectives really much disagree with each other - so what's the point here? You're left with the boring experience of watching/(enduring) the same story 3 times. And the initial version's not all that interesting the 1st time around.

Seems only purpose for this is as a "me too". But, er, yeah, woman's rights were particularly unevolved in the - 13th century. That's why it was the Medieval age.

Only positive is that's it's bombed at the box office (cost over $100 mil, made $4.8 mil 1st week), so hopefully that will discourage Hollywood from making more movies like this.

(An order of magnitudes better Ridley Scott "duel" movie is the The Duelists from the 80s, watch that instead)
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