The Last Duel (15): Three sides to every story

An intriguing, but dark film, does The Last Duel live up to the positive praise from critics?

Alex Rimmer
2nd November 2021
Image Credit: IMDB
Ridley Scott, the director behind The Martian, Alien and Gladiator collaborates with renowned screen play writers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Nicole Holofcener to create a medieval epic which defies genre conventions and plays with perspective.

Audiences may have expected medieval swordplay and battle scenes to dominate much of the two and a half hours run time, but instead saw an all-star cast explore fourteenth-century French society and delve into the condition for women in Europe at the time.

Matt Damon as Jean De Carrouges... Image Credit: IMDB

Based on true events, the story follows the last ever trial by combat in France. Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) are friends turned enemies as Carrouges wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of rape. As the rape is seen as a property crime against Carrouges, King Charles VI agrees to let God decide the criminal party and instructs both men to fight to the death, with the promise that Marguerite will perish at the stake if her husband is found to be the liar.

This method of storytelling not only reveals the horrors of misogyny and a woman’s existence in fourteenth-century Europe, but also cleverly examines the intricacy’s and differentiation of human perception and experience

The events leading up to the duel are told in three parts by husband, rapist and wife, with Affleck and Damon writing the male perspectives and Holofcener curating Marguerite’s truth. The deployment of three different writers, paired with the convincing and emotive performances by Damon, Driver and Comer certainly achieves the delivery of three different standpoints of the same events.

This method of storytelling not only reveals the horrors of misogyny and a woman’s existence in fourteenth-century Europe, but also cleverly examines the intricacy’s and differentiation of human perception and experience. The truth behind the assault is left to be questioned until the third and final chapter where it is revealed that the attack was violent, unprovoked and completely non-consensual. This revelation creates overwhelming tension as the final battle begins and Marguerite's fate lays with her husband’s ability to live through the last duel.

Rating: 4.5/5

Video Credit: Movie Trailers Source
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