It’s not that often that we get to visit the past and experience it in great detail in a movie. Most movies today tend to focus on the present, and for good reason. It makes a lot of financial sense and it is less of a burden on the writers to write something that is so elaborate and complex. So it is always a pleasure for me when I come across a movie that breaks those boundaries and tries to do its own thing. The Last Duel happens to be one of those movies, because it is unapologetically itself, and I love it for that. The power to dare to be different is something that I really admire. The Last Duel takes us back in time in a way that feels natural and sells the story, which is its triumph.
Ridley Scott is a director who has a strong legacy and a lot of experience behind him, so it is naturally expected that he is going to bring the best to his audience. He manages to bring something new to the table every time and I adore that about him. The director started off his career with a science fiction thriller, then moved to something that was completely different, the explored gore and other genres along the way, but never once did he revisit his old achievements again. He created his masterpieces and moved on. And now he has brought us a story from the times of the knights, and it looks like he has something completely different for us here.
The Last Duel is a film that is based on the premise of mystery and investigation and crime. And it is a true mystery movie in that aspect. It takes place as much as in the courtroom as it does outside it, and makes for a really interesting premise. The story takes place during the Hundred Years War of France, and our beloved knight Jean de Carrouges has been away for almost a year, risking his life to save those of his fellowmen, away from his wife. In the meanwhile, his wife claims that she has been raped by none other than his best friends, and now it is up to Jean to make sure that justice is served and to make a choice. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I thought the same when I heard the premise of the movie. But you don’t have to watch the movie to know whether it is worth watching like I did. So without much further discussion, let us review The Last Duel.
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The Last Duel: The Review
Reviewing the Last Duel is kind of a mixed bag. While there is a lot that the movie could improve on, you won’t feel that it is a bad movie at all. It manages to sit in a neat little place in the middle where it comfortably enjoys its status as a film with its due flaws. The story focuses on the story of Jean, who is played by Matt Damon, and his wife, Marguerite, who is the victim of a rape, played by Jodie Comer. The convict here is the best friend of the knight Jean, who goes by Jacques Legris, and is played by the versatile yet strong Adam Driver. The story focuses on the conflict that ensues after Jean’s wife accuses Jacques of raping her while Jean was away for the war. The case is brought to the court, and now it is up to Jacques to prove his innocence in the matter, as all the evidence goes against him.
The film plays with different perspectives and stories in an effort to tell it in different ways and keep the viewer in the dark as to what is really happening. However, that doesn’t last long and the illusion is eventually broken and makes way for a more emotional story. It becomes less so about the mystery and more about the aftermath of what happened, which can really polarize the viewers. It’s like watching two different movies at the same time. I personally found it to be quite a clever switch, but I feel that it could have been executed in a much better manner.
This change in pace and perspective leads to a change in tone and tempo that can really put off a lot of viewers. And it is far from perfect to say the least. The movie screams that it has been rushed, and it manages to alienate the viewer itself from the story at times. And that is not a good feeling.
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The cast here though, has done an absolutely remarkable job and I have no complaints whatsoever. Matt Damon has really outdone himself as Jean here and his character is one that I admired a lot. He really sells the emotional and mental pressure that Jean is experiencing and sells the entire premise of the choices that have to be made really well. Adam Driver and Jodie Comer, too, have outdone themselves here and provide stellar performances that will really have you admiring them, in and out of the movie. The cast is probably the strongest point of the film, and I got no qualms about applauding them at all.
The direction is also good, except some of the inconsistencies and alienation that I mentioned. It is not a badly directed movie at all. In fact, it really shines from the rest due to the amazing cinematography and the way that it has portrayed a historical period so beautifully. And it is something to really appreciate.
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The Last Duel: Verdict
Coming to the verdict for the film, I would simply tell you to watch it. While I do have my reservations about some of the things that I mentioned in my review, I still do feel that you should definitely give the Last Duel a chance. It might pleasantly surprise you with what it has to offer. So it has my thumbs up and I strongly recommend it.
The Last Duel has already premiered and a lucky few of us have been able to watch it. However, for the rest of you, the movie hits the theaters on October 15, 2021, and it is going to be available on a screen near you. So grab the ticket as soon as the box office opens. You don’t want to miss this one.
The Last Duel currently holds a rating of 7.9 out of 10 on IMDb, based on user reviews. IMDb is our preferred platform for all movies and TV shows.
You may watch the trailer for the movie below:
What do you think about the film? Are you excited for it? Are you going to catch it on the big screen? Let me know in the comments down below.
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