The Last Duel, which is directed by the brilliant Ridley Scott, brings to the big screen a powerhouse of performances. The actors put on performances that are so believable and feels so real. As the audience you are completely immersed in the story, and you do not want to take your eyes off the screen not even for a second. The Last Duel screenplay was written by Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck and is based on the true story that shocked Medieval Paris.
The Last Duel is split into three chapters, each chapter is brought to the audience from the perspectives of the three main characters. Matt Damon and Adam Driver give thrilling performances, but Jodie Comer steals the show. Jodie is beautiful, elegant, riveting, and so very believable in the role of Marguerite de Carrouges. Damon, Driver, Comer, and Scott bring a tragic story to the screen that will blow audiences away.
One of the many things that makes The Last Duel so special is how the film is split into three different perspectives or “Truths.” The film being split this way means each actor must portray their specific character based on the “truth” of the individual characters story. With this being the case, the audience get to see Comer, Damon, and Driver portray their characters three diverse ways. This type of storytelling is not just fun to watch but also keeps each chapter fresh as we revisit the time and places repeatedly.
The Last Duel puts the audience in the seat of judgement when looking at this case of betrayal and the heinous crime of rape. The film is gritty and hard hitting, but what stands out the most here, is the magnitude of the performances. The casting for The Last Duel is so good and so real, that you feel more like you are watching a re-enacting rather than just a film.
Matt Damon, who also co-wrote the script, puts on a brilliant performance that sometimes, you will see yourself thinking “wow is that really Matt Damon?” Adam Driver nails his role as Jacques Le Gris. Driver almost steals the show in all his scenes with his performance but then there’s Jodie Comer. Comer is every bit of the word fantastic in the role of Marguerite. Comer shows us beauty, pain, fear, passion, love and so much more that your eyes are glued to her in every scene of The Last Duel. Of course, we cannot forget Ben Affleck who was also one hundred percent in his role, but all eyes are on Driver, Comer, and Damon.
The cinematography, pacing, directing, and score were of course masterful. Ridley Scott was a master at work as always with The Last Duel. Beautiful shot and paced the audience is never left behind or felt a dull moment. This can be a particularly tough task when revisiting the same moments in a film multiple times. Ridley Scott as he does very well is able to keep the audience engaged and immersed the entire film. The film takes place in 1300’s France so there’s war, blood, and death. The musical score brought to us by the great Henry Gregson-Williams.
The score is intense in the right moments that builds the audience up for the epicness of the scene. The score is also fun in scenes that are more full of light and happiness. What stands out the most here though, is the moments where there is no music.
All you hear is the movement of the actors, the sounds of the war horses galloping through the woods, or the loud clashing of swords.
The immersion is in full swing with The Last Duel, and the set pieces and locations are great to look at.
The Last Duel offers up a tragic tale based on true events and delivers on every front. The story is compelling, gut wrenching, and in some moments hard to watch. But, the immersion is there, and as the audience, you just cannot look away. Ridley Scott shows his proficiency and wizardry behind the scenes and any fan of Scott’s will thoroughly enjoy his work on The Last Duel.
The Last Duel as a film is different and a pleasant change of pace compared to other films that are currently in the theater, plus Seeing Damon and Affleck on screen together is always fun. If you see this film and you are left wanting more, then the book The Last Duel by American author Eric Jager is well worth the read to dive deeper into this tale of trial by combat and the accusation of rape. Rape is a heinous, vile, disgusting, and evil crime. Jodie Comer does tremendous justice to the woman she is portraying in The Last Duel, I only wish that the perspective of Marguerite had a little more screen time.
Verdict 8.5/10 Absolutely worth the watch.