Ridley Scott has a way with delivering large scale epics in grand ways. But in “The Last Duel,” the idea takes on a new meaning as it not only derives from a true story but it also has some modern-day context as it deals with sexual assault during a time where women were considered less than and misogynistic attitudes reign supreme. The film follows Jean de Carrouges, a knight who challenges his former friend, squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), to a judicial duel after Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), accuses Jacques of raping her. And the film shares its three differing perspective portrayals with Rashomon’s storytelling.
Having already reviewed “The Last Duel,” we can’t forget how important a film like “The Last Duel” is and how unfortunate it is that it won’t change the hearts and minds of those influenced by toxic and misogynistic behaviors. Still, all three actors give world-class performances, with Comer being the beating heart of the entire film. Scott knows how to strike that balance with finding the humanism in these medieval epics while injecting dark truths of the violence and pains of sexual assault. And it’s a storytelling choice that works in favor for each of the characters as it explores the events through their eyes. Each perspective provides the necessary exposition that leads up with the emotional finale and a revelation that not much has changed between now and 14th Century France.
What’s more, the attempted humor is cringe-worthy, but it does more to reveal the darkness that’s within when men ruled all and how they justified their actions by the religious laws they established. This left women with zero options. At times it’s painful to see how some turned on Marguerite for being so outspoken. So while the first two acts visualizes the power of man, their rage, and how they view women, the third and final act gives us a chance to see what Marguerite is capable of, her true value as a person, and her courage.
As relevant and epic as “The Last Duel” is, it seriously lacks in the bonus features department. Maybe it’s the pandemic or the fact that Scott had another film to work on, but “The Last Duel” features a small “The Making of The Last Duel” documentary feature that is only a fraction of the actual runtime. Running at a total of 33:38 minutes, Scott educates the inspiration behind the screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, based on the 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager.
Still, if you are a fan of Ridley Scott and his medieval epics, then “The Last Duel” is an excellent addition to that home entertainment shelf.
And here’s the bonus feature you can expect to see on “The Last Duel:”
The Making of The Last Duel – With the documentary “The Making of The Last Duel,” get unprecedented access to renowned director Ridley Scott as he collaborates with the cast and crew to make critical decisions about location, cinematography and performances.
“The Last Duel” is out on digital and Blu-ray today.