I went into The Last Duel only knowing it was a period piece starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck. What I assumed would be a testosterone fueled bloody medieval film turned out to be something so much more. This is the most captivating well done films I’ve seen in a while. Thanks to an ever talented cast, a brilliant director, and a smart script, this ends up being an absolute must see.
Ridley Scott hardly ever fails and this time is no exception. If you are someone who is thinking of skipping this and waiting for it to be available for rent, I strongly suggest you don’t. The Last Duel needs to be seen in a theater!
Scott’s direction here is near perfect. I kept gawking at scene after scene due to the immaculate cinematography and captivating camerawork. I was reminded of the wonderful job he did with Gladiator while watching this gem. A film like this reminds you of the magic that can be created if truly talented individuals are at the steering wheel. Everything from the actual duel itself to just random shots of snow falling on the ground are so crisp and impressive.
In addition to the dazzling direction, the costume design is also extremely well done. The attention to detail is great and the costumes are all spot on. The women’s gowns and jewelry are especially beautiful to behold.
I also thought the scenery was very beautiful as well, lots of breathtaking shots of the snowy countryside. And of course Scott knows just how to capture it all. The script, like the cinematography and direction, is exceedingly smart. The Last Duel is actually told in three different chapters. Each chapter tells the specific point of view of a different character. Laying out the script in this fashion really works and it fits this story well.
Each chapter does a great job of introducing us to these characters and showing us their heartbeats. And what’s really interesting and smart is the way in which the chapters reveal the differences in the three points of view. How the exact same instance is viewed in different ways helps to reveal things about the characters and about the grave state of society back in these times.
There are horrific things that occur during The Last Duel – both the occurrences themselves and the way in which the world back then reacted to it all.. The misogyny was absolutely crippling. The acceptance of women being brutalized as normal is heartbreaking. The delusional cruel ways of the male leaders are unbelievable.
The Last Duel does such a good job showing us the raw unjust reality of life back in these medieval times. Also, the story itself is told with great care and they don’t waste time meandering about focusing on unimportant things. Each scene has a purpose and there’s a natural flow to things.
The performances are all a masterclass. Adam Driver does an impressive job as always, he never turns in a lousy performance. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are both good, they know how to command a camera and command it they do.
But step aside boys, this film’s standout is Jodie Comer, no question about it. Comer turns in an absolutely incredible performance here. I was captivated, mesmerized, and heartbroken by her in this film. This is a tough role to play, this role requires a lot of emotion and intensity and Comer handles it all like a champ. There’s something seriously wrong if she is not nominated for an Academy Award. I look forward to seeing her career flourish!
The Last Duel is a reminder of why I love films so much. This is one that shows you the greatness that can be achieved if there’s an abundance of talent present. Please go out and support this marvelous film! You won’t regret it.
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