“The Last Duel” (2021) Review

Ridley Scott is right and you should feel bad for not seeing the “The Last Duel” last year.

The film is a truly fantastically edited concoction of melding personal narratives from the same set of events into a story that grows with layers of intrigue and nuance as it is baked. Matt Damon, Jodie Comer (who arguably steals the show), and Adam Driver (honorable mention to Ben Affleck) give great performances that are nicely complemented by a wonderfully tuned medieval backdrop of production and cinematography.

Although set in the late 1300’s and based on a true story, “The Last Duel” borrows and reflects on topics of feminism, patriarchy, and rape in a way that parallels directly with the modern age in a way irrespective of any single event or social movement in particular.

An unexpected aspect of the film is that it also has scenes of exceptionally raw violence packed into bookend climaxes. These scenes are harrowing and of the caliber that put most action sequences to shame.

While the box office returns are probably due to a global pandemic, poor marketing, a niche film subject, or some combination thereof rather than shithead millennials, it is absolutely correct that this film unfairly flopped, as it is unequivocally one of the better films of 2021. “The Last Duel” is not just good, it is very good, and debatably ranks near the upper end of Ridley Scott’s filmography.

93% A

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