The Last Duel (18)
The Last Duel (18)
Director: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 142 minutes
Cast: Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Harriet Walter, Alex Lawther, Marton Csokas
Synopsis: From 20th Century Studios and visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott comes “The Last Duel,” a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality of 14th century France. Based on actual events, the historical epic unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals
Directed by Ridley Scott [The Martian (2015), Black Hawk Down (2001), Gladiator (2000), Thelma & Louise (1991), Blade Runner (1982)] and starring Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this historical epic is a thought-provoking drama – set in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War – which explores the power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth.
Eric Jager’s compelling 2004 book, The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, is based on historical source materials about a legendary duel to the death, the last officially recorded trail by combat of its kind. It is the source of the compelling screenplay by Oscar® nominee Nicole Holofcener [Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)], Ben Affleck and Matt Damon which like the book brings the brutal and oppressive Middle Ages to life in striking detail.
Separated into three chapters, each is dedicated, respectively, to the perspectives of Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), and Lady Marguerite (Jodie Comer). While Jean and Jacques may have been friends on the battlefield during the Hundred Years’ War, life afterwards sees them increasingly divided. The former’s aging, insecure machismo intensifies while in a land dispute, and Le Gris is the young rising star whose intelligence and eloquence has found him favour with the powerful Count Pierre d’Alençon [Ben Affleck] Dangerous levels of vanity and privilege develop. Their conflict becomes even greater when Marguerite, Jean’s wife, accuses Jacques of rape. At that time this assault was not considered an offence against her, but rather against Jean’s “property.” The only resolution to their conflict is a duel to the death as the only route to the truth – with whoever is left alive declared the winner as a sign of God’s will.
The use of three chapters gives the various perspectives of the three protagonists explores -the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth and also gives this thrilling tale of betrayal and vengeance a renewed modern day relevance.
The Last Duel is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama with stunning location filming by Dariusz Wolski in France and Ireland, a stellar cast, beautiful costumes and armory, dazzling mis-en-scene and a beautiful score from composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
Lady Marguerite is shown by a mesmerising Jodie Comer as an incredible woman from history – an early known recorded person who spoke out against a powerful man who assaulted her.
“She admits to her husband that she was raped, which in 14th-century France was an incredibly brave and risky decision for any woman,” says producer Kevin J. Walsh. “Women at that time carried few societal rights and were commonly under the legal guardianship of men. A woman who had the courage to speak out about sexual assault was often terrorized and vulnerable to further violence by her husband and entire community on the grounds of infidelity, promiscuity, and disobedience. Considering these grave risks, Marguerite’s decision to step forth and tell the truth was even more heroic.”
Images courtesy of 20th Century Studios