Movie Reviews

The Last Duel (2021)

the-last-duel-movie-poster-review-2021Director: 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.

the-last-duel-jodie-comer-free-guy

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.

the-last-duel-movie-glove-2021

15 thoughts on “The Last Duel (2021)

  1. I’m frustrated that this bombed so hard. People are always screaming about wanting movies that aren’t sequels or franchises, well here they are, and you aren’t going to them lol. I thought it was fine, I’m bias for Driver too but I thought Comer was great. The title crawl at the end made me happy to know she lived on without these garbage men in her life.

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  2. I have to be honest about my shallow self here I’m so glad you mentioned the hair! I’m not big on Affleck and Damon anyway (all about Driver and Comer) but every time I saw the hair in the trailer I was like no. No. No.

    And if the man can’t grow facial hair was it really needed?

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    1. I shouldn’t complain really, because IMAGINE what they could have done to Adam Driver’s beautiful hair, but I knew Ben Affleck was in this and yet it was like, the third time he appeared until I actually realised it was him!

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  3. I’ve heard so many good things about this! Shame about its box office. Definitely was a choice to release it in a jam-packed month when other studios are dropping their tentpoles. I feel like a Nov-Dec slate would’ve fared better, but then it’d be too close to House of Gucci so 🤷‍♂️

    Glad Ridley’s still got his groove. The guy hits a good average at his age. Will def check this one out.

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    1. You raise a really good point about not clashing with House of Gucci! I really hope that movie does well. It’s definitely had much more marketing than The Last Duel.
      I really hope you like it when you get the chance to see it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It sucks that it bombed as I did hear good things about the film but the reason I’m not seeing it in the theaters is because there’s other films I want to see. It’s a shame that it’s not doing well as I have read about what happened as it is an interesting subject and I love the fact that they went on a narrative device made famous by Akira Kurosawa in Rashomon which I think everyone needs to see.

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    1. Exactly, your reasons for not seeing it in the theater is exactly why this is bombing, it got released among too many other movies! I have to admit, if Adam Driver wasn’t in it then it wouldn’t have been a priority for me, either.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s extraordinary and I loved every part of it. It’s just too bad people aren’t quite in the mood for drama right now… but, just like ‘The Report’, this is a movie that Adam was part of that needed to be made.
    Adam uses his art to tell truth to power.

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    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s a tough movie to sell to the average movie fan but hopefully a streaming service picks it up eventually and it’ll reach a wider audience.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment ❤

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  6. It’s too bad that it bombed, as it was competently made. I think its heart is in the right place about the me-too message, though you already know how I feel about its execution in the third act.

    Ahahaha, so true about the hair!! “Adam Driver? You’re fine the way you are, honey.” He looks positively dreamy with his long hair blowing in the wind… I kinda wish his role is switched w/ Damon but then again he’s regarded as handsome and popular with the ladies so obviously perfect casting there!

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    1. Yeah, the fan in me wishes he could have played a true ‘knight in shining armour’ but he plays the bad guy so well!
      And yes, I completely agree with you about the me-too message. I think something as simple as seeing that scene through the woman’s eyes would have made a huge difference.

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  7. Loved your review. It is interesting that the film took the structure of Akutagawa’s story “In the Grove”/”Rashomon” of Kurasawa with different points of view presented. Your “worst bit” is also hilarious!

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