By Lee Romero
Last Man Standing
First and foremost, how can anyone go wrong with a Ridley Scott film? Think about it. His films aren’t for everyone, but I think they’re films everyone should watch. No need for a rundown. You can look that up yourself. What I will say is the guy has style and always swings for the fences – and it’s no different with THE LAST DUEL!
In layman’s terms, THE LAST DUEL follows a legal hearing pertaining to a woman (played by Jodie Comer) who claims she’s been raped by her husband’s best friend (played by Adam Driver). But when no one believes her accusation, her husband (played by Matt Damon) challenges his friend to a duel, the last legally sanctioned duel in the country’s history.
Ok, well, to start… the film overall is a harsh yet engaging piece. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but for good reason considering its delicate and thought-provoking subject matter, as well as complexities among story, characters, layout, and execution. I’m a big fan of period pieces and nothing defines a period piece like medieval times. The 1300s were rough, rugged, and raw! If anything, a brutal, patriarchal time in life – and it’s clearly defined in this film. For that alone, prepare yourself, because everything and anything about this film exposes it among its leading and supporting male cast. (They’re all a$$holes!)
However, on the flip, I think it’s a gorgeous piece to watch in terms of scenery, costumes, and overall scope of an era that once existed. Divided into 3 chapters (all with blurred lines), THE LAST DUEL isn’t a film that’s designed for folks who are sensitive and/or don’t like to think. While the story is played over in “different forms,” it’s the script that allows each chapter to breathe different air and generate a different feel. While the center piece of it all runs on a rape case – that leads to a last duel between friends — it’s almost like even though you’re the audience, you’re also jury, with unusual privileges of viewing things from different perspectives.
Adam Driver, Matt Damon, and Jodie Comer are the heartbeats of this film. All were very engaging and provided life to their characters’ objectives. Whether you like them or not, they grow on you. Now, Ben Affleck… I’m still wondering why he was in this? While a strong presence on screen (generally speaking), in this film it’s hard to take him seriously. Gladly, he’s not around in this much or someone the story relied heavily on. It was almost comedic to hear his bad accent, watch forced acting, and sporting that bad, blond wig and/or dye. I’ll give him credit as co-writer, but as an actor… yeah, no, yeahhhh, noooo…
This is a film with a lot to endure, aside from its players. With a mixture of rape and violence, I can see how many will be turned off by it, especially during hyper-sensitive times. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that THE LAST DUEL is – indeed – an interesting film. It’ll rattle emotions, but in the end, it’s art – and that’s what art is meant for. None of us existed in the 1300s, so, it’s hard to corroborate any of these acts. BUT what we do know is they did exist at one time, so there is some semblance of truth. The jury is still out on how this film will be taken, but if you’re an open kind of person who likes to “time travel,” give it a shot. It’s totally worth it. Much love, respect, and kudos to Scott and Co.
Genre: History, Drama | Rated: R | Run Time: 2:33
Cast: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck
Directed by Ridley Scott