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The Last Duel

Opening Date
14 Oct 2021
R21 Sexual Scenes
153 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Drama, History, Thriller
Ridley Scott
Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver
"The Last Duel" is based on Eric Jager's book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, which brings the turbulent Middle Ages to life in striking detail. When etiquette, social aspirations and justice were driven by the codes of chivalry, the consequences for defying the institutions of the time - the Church, the nobility at court, a teenage king - could be severe. For a woman navigating these violent times, one who had no legal standing without the support of her husband, the stakes were even higher.
By Rachelle  07 Oct 2021
Jodie Comer emerges victorious in Ridley Scott’s retelling of a late 1300s #MeToo-esque story.
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The great Ridley Scott’s latest work since 2017’s All the Money in the World is a retelling of a true story of trial by combat in Medieval France, based on a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Academy Award-winning duo Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Affleck and Damon also star in the film alongside Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Nathaniel Parker, and Alex Lawther.

Set in the late 1300s, The Last Duel tells the story of Marguerite de Carrouges (Comer) who claims she had been raped by her husband's best friend. Her husband, knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon), challenges his friend and squire Jacques Le Gris (Driver) to trial by combat. It is the last legally sanctioned duel in France's history. Basically, a #MeToo movement set in the middle ages.

The film is told in 3 parts, with each part told from the point of view of its leads - Jean’s, Jacques’, and Marguerite’s. 

Despite the film’s lengthy two-and-a-half-hour runtime and storytelling format, the compelling performances from its cast will have you invested. Especially as the film gets better by the minute. 

Damon, whose career has been reduced to cameos as of late, not only returned to co-write with his best bud but also stars as one of the leads. He delivers an almost unrecognisable and off-the-rails performance that quite frankly left me feeling bewildered. It didn’t help that his part of the film (Chapter 1) had some of the choppiest editings. Thankfully, this choice makes more sense as the film progresses.

Come Chapter 2, we get more of Driver’s Jacques and a career-highlight performance from Affleck as his mentor, Count Pierre d'Alençon. Driver has over the years delivered performances that prove he is one of the best actors of the decade and his role as Jacques only adds to the list. I could easily watch him and Affleck riff for another couple of hours.

With that all said, it's really the third and final act when all focus is on Comer’s Marguerite that makes The Last Duel a success. She is the focal point of the story. Its instigator and its deliverer. Her impassioned performance of a lady wronged breathes new life into the film, thus closing it off on a high note.

The film may have relied heavily on its cast’s delivery but it would be a crime to not also give praise to the attention to detail on its set and costume designs. There’s no doubt this film will rake in nominations on the technical front come award season.

Don’t let its runtime scare you off because this film is good, but you’ll only be able to appreciate it if you don’t quit on it halfway through. 
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