The Last Duel – Movie Review

Directed by : Ridley Scott

Written by : Nicole Holofner, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon

Starring : Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck

24 years after Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon finally reunites both in-front and behind the screen. This time in Ridley Scott’s historical drama, The Last Duel.

Based on a true story and adapted from the novel written by Eric Jager, The Last Duel tells the story of the last officially recognized trial by combat fought in France.

While Ridley Scott might be recognized as a master in the science fiction genre, one would actually argue that his true strengths lie in historical swords-and-sandals. With The Last Duel, Scott brings his innate medieval sensibilities that worked so well in Gladiator (and dare I say Exodus: Gods & Kings) and melds it with the dramatic high tension of its source material — into a story that builds up to a satisfying crescendo.

The Last Duel starts off as a slow burn and progresses with an editing stye that might be off-putting for most audiences but it’s not without its reasons. Nicole Holofcener, along with Affleck and Damon opted to create a story that dives deep into each of the characters, a slow-burn it may be — but a compelling one at that. 

The screenplay’s ability to keep the audience guessing and its willingness to contradict itself in favor of having compelling characters is one of its biggest strengths — not to mention the way it handles its innately dark themes, such as the the parallels to today’s institutional misogyny.

It is also bolstered by great performances from Matt Damon and Adam Driver, but it is ultimately Jodie Comer who steals the entire show — giving us a layered performance that effortlessly shows grace, strength, and sorrow.

In-addition to the great dramatic elements that the film possesses, it also features some of the best swords-and-sandals action that we’ve seen in quite a while, not to mention a fulfilling final duel that will truly have the audience on the edge of their seats with the amount of intensity and uncertainty that it carries with each clang.

The Last Duel will disorient viewers at first, but what follows is an intense harrowing rollercoaster ride that ends in a satisfyingly brutal conclusion.

The Last Duel is now Available in Theaters

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