The Last Duel
A flagrantly repetitive film that is missable by any standard.
Sadly, it is clear that age is catching up to the legendary director Ridley Scott. Though this film is largely a waste of time, let’s remember his classic films “Alien” (1978), “Blade Runner” (1991), “Thelma and Louise” (1991) and “Gladiator” (2000), to name a few.
“The Last Duel” has one positive upside by focusing on a rape victim in France in the late 14th Century who challenged Europe’s massive sexist culture by going public with her accusation. Jodie Comer stands out as a married woman who risks being burned at the stake for daring to accuse a prominent political figure.
But the movie lost its strength by repetitive, lengthy scenes showing the same sexual encounter. The film’s length of 2 hours and 33 minutes could have been easily shortened to 1 ½ hours and the story would have been strengthened in the process. It also is not helped by constant scenes where every man and woman is drinking to excess.
Matt Damon plays Sir Jean de Carrouges, a one dimensional soldier with bad hair and a scarred face. Married to Ms. Comer’s Marguerite, his two loves in life are army battles and hoping that his wife will get pregnant so he will have an heir. The problem is that she doesn’t enjoy having sex with him.
Opposite him is Adam Driver, playing Jacques Le Gris. Good at collecting money from tenants of the local government leader, an absolutely awful Ben Affleck, his attraction to Marguerite leads him down a despicable path followed by many men of that time period.
Let me just say that a trial before the king leads to a duel on horseback where if Driver wins Damon will be executed and Comer tortured and burned to death. By the conclusion you will be yawning in your seats. It leads you to think that this melancholy movie was co-written by Damon and Affleck who long ago lost their edge with “Good Will Hunting” (1997).
Oh, that’s right, they did. Further explanation is not needed.