The Last Duel (Ridley Scott)

Started by wilder, July 20, 2021, 04:41:09 PM

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King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

Directed by Ridley Scott
Release Date - In theaters October 15, 2021


Premiering Out of Competition in Venice.


I'm a Ridley agnostic. I will give him credit that this is his most directed film since... Black Hawk Down? He did not slack with the scale. The duel itself is expectedly brutal.

That said, this has the surface level politics typical from the director of GI Jane. The Rashomon-esque narrative of shifting and fragmented perspectives is rendered useless considering Driver's section provides him guilty without a doubt. It's overall plodding and undercuts Comer's arc which doesn't bloom until 3rd chapter. The real interest/attention of film focuses on the arrogance of men and Damon/Driver's evergrowing tension.

Affleck's performance is indescribable. I think he was auditioning for Monty Python


I quite admired it, although I don't know if 'enjoyed' is the right word, given the relentlessly grim tone and subject matter.

I appreciated how it hearkened back to the 70s when you could make a major release starring A-list actors about a group of almost uniformly unpleasant characters who don't learn or 'grow' or reflect on their moral shortcomings. The cast were all solid, and I thought it quite brave of Damon and Driver to take on such unflattering roles.

Hardly surprising – albeit a bit depressing – that a 2 1/2 hour film about the Middle Ages, rape and male egotism has flopped at the box office, but I suspect that in the long run it might fare better reputation-wise than a lot of movies that are currently making far more money.

And I say this as someone who probably only likes about 4 or 5 Ridley Scott movies.

Also, the duel itself is very well-staged.

Jeremy Blackman

This was waaaay better than I expected. Couldn't disagree more with the criticisms posted above. Didn't find it plodding or grimdark at all. Nor did I find anything redundant about the Rashomon structure. It's a completely fascinating study in the way small self-delusions can add up to construct a system in which cruelty flourishes.

Spoiler: ShowHide
It's not only about who's guilty or the severity of the crime. It's just as much about all of the routine cruelty that's normalized. Marguerite's husband rapes her right after he hears her story, to "reclaim" her. That's what this movie is about. Matt Damon's character and Adam Driver's character have the exact same rationalization: that her role is grit her teeth and take it, that her purpose is to submit, and that her actual experience doesn't much matter.

For that reason alone, the first two sections are absolutely essential to show us what they rationalize and what they don't care to think about. I wouldn't remove a minute of it.
Living life big time


I thought it had a few longueurs, but it's certainly the closest – with a few notable exceptions – that Hollywood has come to making a 'movie for adults' in recent memory. I know it's far from an original thing to say, but I do worry about the health of a filmgoing culture that ignores or condemns something like The Last Duel whilst going to see the new Spider-Man five times in a row. There used to be a place for both, but now there just isn't (outside of streaming), which sucks.

I wonder if Nolan's expensive and bleak-sounding Oppenheimer picture will meet a similar commercial fate...