By: Amanda Guarragi
As we all know, there is a side to every story. But, not all sides hold the truth. Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel presents a medieval true story about a woman who will not be silenced by the men in power. She will not be silenced by the misogynistic view of the world within the council, court, or even the kingdom. The story written by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon presents three characters all living their own truth. Noble Knight, Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is fighting for honour in his family’s name, Squire Jacques LeGris (Adam Driver) is defending his honour against serious accusations, and Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) is fighting for her own honour and self-worth.
When going into this film, you think about the generic medieval tales that came before it. What could possibly make this different? Well, Ridley Scott managed to structure this narrative, in a way that would change the viewer’s perception of these characters more than once. There are three chapters that explore different versions of the truth. The writing for The Last Duel combined with the subtle, emotional, and sometimes paralyzing execution of this story made for a tension-filled watch. Scott’s direction for each section highlighted the characters and their actual persona.
The script was elevated by its perfect cast. The performances from Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and the flawless Jodie Comer, brought this all together. There needs to be an appreciation for what Scott did here. The narrative structure will make you think about how people perceive you versus how you perceive yourself. How men perceive women acting civil or nice, and taking that as an invitation to do whatever they please. How women automatically know how to diffuse situations, by acting a certain way, to counter the energy that is radiating off of the men surrounding them. Being able to have three sides of the story, fully fleshed out, is what made this film so good.
The Last Duel is a refreshing take on the genre. Ridley Scott knows how to create perfect fight scenes that will have you wincing in pain. One thing is for sure, Jodie Comer steals the spotlight in every single scene she’s in. At times, it does get tough to watch. There are moments that will have you frozen in your seat, as you watch the events unfold and Comer just stabs you in the heart, emotionally with her performance. It may run a bit long but this structure worked perfectly for the story they were telling. By showing different angles, the story comes together in a more well-rounded way, thus allowing her truth in the end to be powerful.