Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Runtime: 152 Minutes
Main Cast: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck, Marton Csokas, Harriet Walter, Clare Dunne, Alex Lawther
Plot: Set in medieval France, knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) challenges his friend and squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a duel to the death after Jean’s wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Jacques of raping her.
My Thoughts: I need only glance at my Twitter timeline today to see how hard The Last Duel bombed at the box office. It’s easy to claim you don’t care about a movie’s performance but it sucks when original movies don’t do well. It’s so easy to see why this particular one has failed. We’re still in a pandemic, older audiences aren’t returning to the cinemas yet. It was also someone’s genius idea to release The Last Duel in a week with several other big releases. The average movie fan doesn’t go to the cinema more than once a week, they aren’t going to choose a 2 and a half hour long medieval movie about rape over the latest in the Halloween franchise or the Venom sequel. Sigh. I’d hoped the names Ridley Scott, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck would be a draw enough but no. What’s worse is that this looks like the most fun Ben Affleck has had in years!
What you need to know about this movie is that it’s a story told in 3 parts. The story from Jean’s side, the story from Jacques side, and finally, the actual truth, from Marguerite’s side. It creates a bit of a groundhog day effect but it’s actually quite fascinating seeing the small changes in the telling of the story depending on who’s side it’s from. A change of just one word can alter the meaning and implication behind an action severely and it’s in the final chapter that the real truth falls into place and we get to see everyone for who they really are.
Yes, it’s an Adam Driver movie and I’m always going to be biased but I liked this movie a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. It’s not fun like Venom or Bond are but it’s smart, dark and shocking. The battle scenes are gruesome and loud, and the duel itself had me on the edge of my seat. Those were scenes that just have to be witnessed on the big screen for maximum effect.
Best Bit: I think the best moment in the whole movie for me, visuals and battles aside, was seeing Jean’s reaction to Marguerite’s confession from her eyes in the final chapter. We’d started to learn he was nowhere near as noble as he liked to think he was, but his reaction in that moment was when I didn’t care anymore who lost the duel, they both deserved a cruel fate.
Worst Bit: I want to know who was in charge of this decision, because it’s hilarious. Matt Damon? Give him a mullet. Ben Affleck? Bleach blonde and a dodgy goatee. Adam Driver? You’re fine the way you are, honey.
Fun Trivia: Matt Damon can’t grow facial hair, so the makeup department had to try out 20 different beards to apply to Matt Damon’s face. He reportedly got a skin rash underneath the stuck-on beard, which was so irritating that he had to be treated with ice packs after every scene, while shooting the movie.
My Rating: 4 and a half gloves that weren’t slapped down anywhere near dramatically enough for my liking.