Review: The Last Duel


When Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) is attacked by Jacques Le Gris, (Adam Driver) her husband Jean (Matt Damon) challenges him to a trial by combat. The film is told from all three of these characters' perspectives.

I have to admit, I've been going back and forth about this movie. Driver is one of my favorite actors right now, so I wanted to see it for him, then I heard how they handled the rape scene and that gave me pause. Ultimately I decided to go for it and I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would, but it's still not without its faults.

The choice to show three different point of views was an interesting one. I was afraid it would go the route Vantage Point did and be repetitive and annoying, but thankfully it wasn't. The overlap is different enough to not grate your nerves, except for one scene; the rape. If you've been around here you probably know I have a hard time watching scenes of sexual assault. As a SA survivor myself, it's just something I struggle with so while those scenes might not tank a movie for you, they always bring the quality down for me and the fact that this film choses to show the scene twice, with barely any differences, and still mostly from Jacques' POV was such a mistake. I know a woman wrote Marquerite's portion of the screen play, but Ridley Scott should've let a female DA step in for this portion. We didn't need to see the scene from Jacques' POV at all, we should've just been asked to trust Marguerite. Even the scene during her POV was very male gaze-y. I was always going to have a problem with this scene, and that's on me, but even if I put my uncomfortableness to the side, I just think it was done poorly.

One thing I was not expecting was the somewhat unintentional humor I found in parts of the screenplay. Mainly how everyone keeps mentioning how hot Jacques is. It's like the writers didn't trust the audience to be against Adam Driver in a see of Afflecks and Damons. I also had to laugh at Michael McElhatton's casting. I love this guy, I do, but OF COURSE Roose Bolton doesn't believe her. Come on.

Performance wise, this is Jodie Comer's movie. She gives a very stoic performance and her pain is very apparent, but the parts that stuck out for me were the ones where she's happy. Where she gets excited to be finally asked back to court. When she jokes with a servant about the Queen. I loved those moments. Driver is of course great at playing despicable characters so he's great here too. Another performance that I don't see a lot of people talking about is Alex Lawther's small role as King Charles. He's such a creepy little dude, which is perfect for Lawther. I'm glad he's in something big like this.

The production is very grand and the film is well shot. I know it bombed at the box office this weekend, but for the actors' sakes, I hope more people get out to see it. It's not perfect, but it's done well enough.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable quote: "Come, take off your pants." -  Pierre d'Alençon (Ben Affleck) 

Comments

  1. Hello! I planned to write about how I am doing but I sleep a lot..hahahaa. I am recuperating. I’m not sure about this film because I am not. Lover of Adam Driver...there is something about him that makes me want to bitchslap him. I find him arrogant. It must be tough to watch any rape scene and I am so sorry, truly, that you are a survivor of this. I am not one for showing graphic rape scenes because I just don’t think they need to, for the most part. I always thought it brought the film, “The Accused” down because of that scene which they didn’t need to show. I can’t help but think men think of it like porn. I am on the fence with this movie.

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    1. I agree with you regarding The Accused, and in this films defense, it's nowhere near as exploitative as that one. That film makes me cringe.

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  2. Vantage Point is an example of what not to do when it comes to the Rashomon narrative. I hated that film. I do want to see this film eventually as I do love history and I am intrigued by this. It's a shame it's not doing well in the box office.

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    1. Vantage Point was soooooo bad. I think it scarred me for life, I can't see a POV narrative without getting nervous now.

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  3. Really glad you went and saw this. I'm a pretty big fan of it and the box office numbers bum me out. Then again it's not necessarily a mainstream movie despite the big named stars.

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    1. When I saw the box office numbers, only then did it occur to me that a 2 1/2 hour movie about a rape would be a hard sell. I was thinking Ridley Scott's name and action would get people there. It bums me out too, because I want films to do well.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your personal experience, I had no idea. I can completely understand how you feel about the rape scene. Ruth at FlixChatter made some really interesting points about the problems behind how that scene was done and I can completely agree with both her and you about it.
    It's always nice to see something new from Adam Driver but man, he loves playing the bad guy. I'm glad Jacques got what he deserved!

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    1. She did and I absolutely agree with her. It needed a woman's eye, full stop. Driver wants to scare off his fan girls but we won't leave lol

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