THE LAST DUEL
Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck
Director: Ridley Scott
There's not much in The Last Duel that sets it apart from other narratives like it, but enough of it works that it remains worth one's time. The Rashomon-style perspective shifts may allow the audience to see each side of the story, but it also means the film takes too much time away from moving the plot forward in order to recap things we already saw, making it feel sometimes painfully long. That said, the performances mostly work well (especially Jodie Comer), and the titular fight is a brutal battle that effectively demonstrates Ridley Scott still has immense directorial skill.
I expected to hate The Last Duel, but it ended up being far better than expected. The way the story unfolds through a multi-chapter setup works much better than I thought it would. Granted, the first chapter is incredibly boring and atrociously edited, but the second and especially third chapters are extremely engaging. The film's subject matter is effortlessly dealt with in a way that connects it to modern times. The cast is great, but it's Jodie Comer who is absolutely superb in the last chapter, which features the impressive feat of the titular duel. Definitely check this one out.
Given the number of medieval epics Ridley Scott has directed, you’d think he’d be better at it. Unfortunately, aside from the actual duel, The Last Duel is a lengthy bore. It’s over two hours of “he said, he said, she said” (told as three separate chapters) before the exciting 15-minute showdown. And since those chapters are mostly recounting the same events from different perspectives, it makes much of the film feel like a retread of scenes you’ve already seen. That ending duel is violent and visceral, though. The movie needed more of that and less talk of 12th century litigation.