D: Ridley Scott
20th Century Studios / Scott Free / Pearl Street / TSG (Ridley Scott, Kevin J. Walsh, Jennifer Fox, Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck)
UK/US 🇬🇧🇺🇸 2021
W: Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck [based on the book “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial By Combat in Medieval France” by Eric Jager]
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Claire Simpson
Mus: Harry Gregson-Williams
PD: Arthur Max
Cos: Janty Yates
Matt Damon (Sir Jean de Carrouges), Adam Driver (Jacques Le Gris), Jodie Comer (Marguerite de Carrouges), Ben Affleck (Count Pierre d’Alençon), Alex Lawther (King Charles VI)
Ridley Scott’s historical action drama stars Matt Damon and Adam Driver as two feuding knights of the French realm. Although once trusted allies, their friendship is torn apart by allegations of rape by Jacques Le Gris (Driver) on Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), the wife of Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon)z
The story leading up to their duel is told from three contradictory perspectives, initially from Matt Damon’s characters point of view, then from Adam Driver’s character, before the true version of events is shown from Jodie Comer’s recollection of events.
Based on a book by Eric Jager and clearly inspired by 1950’s Rashomon (which also presents a story of rape from differing perspectives), Ridley Scott does a superb job bringing a complex narrative structure to the screen whilst still making it relatively simple to follow. All the production values are excellent whilst the battle and fight scenes manage to be both brilliantly choreographed and sickeningly brutal.
Matt Damon & Adam Driver both deliver good performances, but Jodie Comer really is the standout of the cast.
Personally, I consider it a crime against cinema that this film was a huge box office flop, which has to only be attributed to the fact that it was released during a worldwide pandemic. Had it been released about five years previously, it would have surely found an audience it so richly deserved.
A financial failure it may be, but that doesn’t stop this being one of the best films of 2021.