‘The Last Duel’ Movie Review: Matt Damon’s Medieval Misogyny

The Last Duel shouldn’t be the film the place Matt Damon defends his spouse’s honor and secures justice for his household. There’s a duel in it, however each side look unhealthy and that’s the purpose. Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener’s adaptation of Eric Alper’s e-book dissects the notion of a heroic duel, and but it’s nonetheless an epic Ridley Scott historic drama. 

Matt Damon | Patrick Redmond/twentieth Century Studios

What’s ‘The Last Duel’ primarily based upon? 

In 1386, Jean de Carrouges (Damon) challenged Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a duel for raping Jean’ spouse, Marguerite (Jodie Comer). The duel occurred in historical past and it begins as the beginning of the film, in order that half is inevitable. Alongside the way in which, The Last Duel tells the story from Jean, Jacques and Marguerite’s perspective to elucidate the way it got here to swords and spears. 

There are nuances in every model the place the three tales overlap, nevertheless it’s not as Rashomon-like as that premise suggests. Occasions are constant all through every model. Jean and Jacques each see themselves as extra heroic than they really are, however that’s obvious in their very own tellings. The lads look unhealthy in each model. 

Matt Damon vs. Adam Driver vs. Jodie Comer 

Jean sees himself as a wronged occasion even earlier than the rape however in his model he’s only a whiner. He married Marguerite for a land dowry, however then doesn’t get the land as a result of the Rely (Affleck) gave it to Jacques. Then Jean’s father dies and Jean isn’t promoted to Captain. Preventing his spouse’s rapist is an outdated type of poisonous chivalry at greatest, however clearly it’s extra about Jean’s personal insecurity anyway. 

Matt Damon confronts Ben Affleck and Adam Driver at dinner
L-R: Ben Affleck, Adam Driver and Matt Damon | Jessica Forde/twentieth Century Studios

The one distinction between Jacques and Marguerite’s account of the rape is that Jacques is oblivious to rape tradition. It’s by no means that he thinks Marguerite got here on to him. He simply thinks her protests are a part of the flirting ritual. Jean does look worse in Jacques’ telling, much more like a gung ho free cannon. The truth that each males presumably suppose their variations indemnify them is telling. Their greatest variations nonetheless make them appear like rapists and bro enablers.

Each males look even worse in Marguerite’s telling, however just for the components they not noted of their tales. Jean nonetheless sees her as property. Jacques continues to be a rapist, however they conveniently uncared for that they’re each placing her at additional threat. Marguerite faces sufferer blaming on trial for as soon as saying she thought Jacques was enticing. This was earlier than she knew he was going to rape her, in fact. Jean doesn’t even essentially imagine her, so a part of this duel is to persuade himself he’s proper. 

The Last Duel star Jodie Comer has her hair in braids
Jodie Comer | Patrick Redmond/twentieth Century Studios

Medieval science and drugs believed conception was linked to orgasm, and that rape couldn’t lead to being pregnant. Modern-day politicians nonetheless cite that faulty “science.” Plus, the court docket believed whoever gained the duel was decided the true victor by God. So if Jean loses, Marguerite can nonetheless be punished simply because her husband sucked at combating. 

‘The Last Duel’: Ridley Scott’s newest epic 

Jean’s story has probably the most Ridley Scott battles. As a knight of the King, he’s main the troops into battles. They’re huge Ridley Scott battles and tremendous gory, maybe Scott’s most graphic battle scenes. There are sufficient bursts of violence to spruce up the interval piece about land possession and rankings. The motion is visceral however by no means triumphant. It’s not that type of film. 

By the point you get to Jacques and Marguerite’s tales, you’re invested sufficient that you just don’t want recurring motion scenes. They aren’t on the entrance traces with Jean so their tales are essentially extra concerning the nuance of what occurred whereas Jean was away. 

The Last Duel: Adam Driver and Matt Damon face off on horseback
L-R: Adam Driver and Matt Damon | Patrick Redmond/twentieth Century Studios

The duel itself is one thing, although. It’s a protracted battle that takes many blows with many various weapons. It’s not pistols at daybreak, though even within the early days of pistols one shot could not have completed the opponent off. However, The Last Duel ends with a grueling confrontation. What it leaves you with is the tragic feeling that Marguerite continues to be struggling irrespective of who wins. There have been quite a lot of Marguerites in historical past and hopefully it gained’t take 600 years to inform their tales. 

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