In this week’s live stream, we mentioned Ridley Scott, The House of Gucci and we touched on The Last Duel, you can watch it HERE. Scott has been saying the failure of the movie is down to millennials and their mobile phones, so I thought I would give it a try. Here’s my review of Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel.

The Last Duel

I started out watching it while playing Candy Crush, I’ve been stuck on level 32 for the past few months and I thought a Scott movie might help me out.

But no, I was a good boy, I put my phone away and let the movie wash over me.

It’s directed by Scott and stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who both also did the screenplay with Nicole Holofcener. When you think that Affleck and Damon won an Oscar for writing Good Will Hunting, this does make it intriguing. Other cast members are Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Nathaniel Parker and many more.

The story is:

King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

The way the movie plays out is really well done. It’s broken down into three chapters, each chapter tells the events, but from the viewpoints of the three main characters, Comer, Damon and Driver. I’m not going to put the names of the characters, coz I can’t spell French names and it’ll just confuse things.

The first chapter is how Damon sees it. He is going to marry Comer and, as a dowry, is promised a lot of the fathers land. However, the father isn’t as well off as he hoped and some of the land has been sold to Driver.

He does marry Comer, but cannot seem to conceive an heir. Damon is away, battling the Scottish, and when he gets back, Comer says she has been raped by Driver. Damon then heads to the King and demands justice in the form of a duel to the death. If Damon wins, Driver is a rapist. If Driver wins, Damon and Comer are both liars, Damon will be killed in the duel, but Comer will be burnt at the stake.

The second chapter shows events from Driver’s viewpoint. He has a reputation as a lady’s man, which is well known that he doesn’t always get the ladies in a nice way.

In his version of events, he does have sex with Comer, but it was mostly consensual. He is told by Affleck to just deny everything and make sure people understand it was all good and it defiantly wasn’t rape.

The third chapter is then told from Comer’s perspective. We follow the story again, but how she tells it. The end of her story ends in court and then with the inevitable last duel.

The entire movie was really good, it’s well-directed, the cast is amazing and I found that I was really invested in who was going to win the duel, which I won’t spoil. It’s incredibly brutal in places, not just the duel, but there are several battle scenes.

I wouldn’t have done well as a knight, I would have been killed pretty easily I imagine. You know when you watch a movie and think ‘I wonder how I would get on in this movie?’, in the final duel, I would have been dead in seconds or at the very least, hiding in a tent.

I didn’t find myself playing on my phone, or comparing this to anything. I guess Gladiator comes close to the style of it, but not the story. I haven’t seen Kingdom of Heaven, so I can’t compare it to that. Scott can be an amazing director and this is a good movie, I couldn’t look away from the story and was really interested in what was going to happen.

Having said that, The Last Duel is not an amazing movie, something that really stands out. When you think of Scott, you think Alien, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner, The Martian, movies that are part of cinema history, but you also have movies like Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven (I haven’t seen it, but I heard it was bad) and Body of Lies, ones which are not so memorable.

If you are a fan of the historical epic drama, you will like this. If you want to see a decent story, you will like this. If you are just a movie lover, like me, again, you probably will enjoy this. I can’t understand why it flopped in the box office, I guess the kids today have the MCU and spaceships etc, something gritting like this isn’t really for them.

There is also the fact that the entire movie revolves around a rape accusation. I imagine it will make for interesting discussions between yourself and your partner. Just to mention, it was interesting that in the court, before the duel, the ‘scientists’ of the day believed that pregnancy via rape was impossible and the only way a baby could be conceived was if the woman had pleasure during sex. Again, this really provokes an interesting discussion.

Overall, I give The Last Duel 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’m not a huge one for historical dramas, but I found the story was good, the acting was good and it was very interesting. I was very keen to see who would finally win in the duel at the end.

As I said, if you like this kind of movie, I imagine you will like it. I would say give it a try anyway since as a ‘movie’ it is very good. I probably would watch it again, but I’m in no hurry. I have seen Gladiator several times and I will carry on watching it, but The Last Duel, isn’t like that. I guess since the story revolves around rape, it’s not really ‘pleasant viewing’.

I did finish level 32 of Candy Crush, I did it when someone dies at the end of the movie… I forget who.

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