Review ‘The Last Duel’ (2021) based on historical facts

The last duel is one of those examples of how a good film can crash at the box office. Indeed, the film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer turned out to be a complete flop at the box office. And yet it started from good reviews. The film fared better, The House of Gucci but even so, the director is not happy and in a recent interview he pointed to the millennials as the real culprits of the commercial failure of The Last Duel. According to Ridley Scott,“this audience raised on mobile phones doesn’t want to be shown anything unless it’s told to them on their mobile phones.

But the director is far from regretting the film. Ridley Scott is clear that one has to be one’s own critic and that The Last Duel is not the first film to fail at the box office, but over the years it has become a cult film. Blade Runner, without going any further, was a film that was harshly criticised at the time and which the years have given it a place among the most emblematic science fiction films. A marvel that was not as successful as expected at the time. We don’t know if, perhaps, this is what will happen to The Last Duel.

Analysis of the movie “The Last Duel”

El último duelo crítica

The film takes us back to 14th century France to tell the story of the duel to the death between the knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon) and the squire Jacques Le Gris (Driver), two friends who end up becoming rivals. Both will fight to defend their truth, the rape or not of Carrouges’ wife (Jodie Comer) when she accuses Le Gris of sexually assaulting her while her husband is away. Whoever wins will be the winner. However, if the squire does, the knight’s wife will be burned alive as punishment for making false accusations.

At a time when women have to keep quiet, one of them decides to raise her voice to defend her truth. At a time in history when women have no voice, one brave woman dares to defy society and put her life in danger.

With a screenplay written by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener, Ridley Scott shows us a story based on true events about friendship, loyalty, honour and truth. But it is also a critique of the superiority of men over women in the Middle Ages and the dangerous power that the Church exercised over the people. A feminist plea that shows us the role of women in those times. A film in which the past and the present go hand in hand, as the film is capable of tackling a highly topical issue, the criminalisation of rape and consent in sexual relations, using an event that took place in the 14th century.

History told in three chapters

Perhaps the most original aspect of the story is how it is told. The film is structured in three chapters: three points of view, three perspectives, the truth according to each of the three protagonists. Scenes that are superimposed to make the spectator an accomplice of the small nuances that can sometimes change a story depending on who is telling it. The same story, yes, but without making it tedious and repetitive. A great success in bringing the spectator closer to the truth. At least, to the truth that the director wanted to tell us. Ridley Scott once again composes one of the best films in his filmography.

The Last Duel is also a work with excellent production design, photography and soundtrack. The visual effects used in the battle scenes are reminiscent of films like Gladiator. Scenes of battle scenes are hair-raising and barbaric. Excellent aerial shots, costumes and performances complete two and a half hours of a more than recommendable feature film. A work that takes you into the deepest and darkest of medieval times, but which also has a strong and very current discourse that will undoubtedly open debates. One of the best films of 2021. Splendid. Despite what the box office says.

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