Ridley Scott returns with an entertaining medieval soap opera.
Based on Eric Jager 2004’s non-fiction book of the same name, The Last Duel is the newest historical drama from veteran filmmaker Ridley Scott. Set in 14th-century France, it tells the true story of the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history: Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer) claims that she has been raped by Jacques LeGris (Adam Driver), her husband Jean de Carouges (a mulleted and goateed Matt Damon)’s closest friend-now-turned-mortal-enemy.
Told in three chapters, each offering the varying perspectives of the central trio in a way that recalls Kurosawa’s Rashomon, The Last Duel commendably attempts to do something different than your average knight’s tale. The script – written by Damon, Ben Affleck (who also stars, sporting a platinum-blonde mop) and Nicole Holofcener – impresses, as do the action sequences that build up to the superbly shot titular sequence. The snag is that any ambiguity is torpedoed in the third chapter, settling for overly ripe #MeToo messaging. So as thoroughly entertaining as this medieval soap opera is, a maintained sense of mystery could have made this epic more than just a (very entertaining) valiant effort.
The Last Duel / D: Ridley Scott (US, 2021), with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Corner, Ben Affleck. Starts October 14.