Design a site like this with
Get started

mattnews Reviews: The Duel

The Last Duel was such an amazing movie, and I absolutely see why Ridley Scott was pissed about people not seeing it.

TL;DR – Solid 5 Stars. Intense personal stakes that keep you on the edge of your seat. Amazing movie. Must see.

Synopsis from IMDb: “Jean de Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Jacques Le Gris is a squire whose intelligence and eloquence makes him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Le Gris viciously assaults Carrouges’ wife, she steps forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.”

This movie’s setup is so well done that by the time the actual dual ensues you’re on the edge of your seat because the stakes have been so clearly defined.

At first I thought the movie was extremely fast paced. I remember pausing it at 38 mins to go to the bathroom and I felt like I had already watched an entire movie. I even said out loud “where moving at break neck speeds here.”

I also remember watching the first half thinking it was a breath of fresh air to see the relationship between Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and his wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer). He treated her with respect and dignity and she treated him with true love and devotion and their relationship seemed like a true partnership. I had disregarded the title of this first act “Chapter 1: The Truth According to Jean de Carrouges”.

But then the events began to replay under the title of “Chapter 2: The Truth According to Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver)”. We see relatively the same story being played out from Le Gris’ perspective. One thing this chapter does well is not to paint him as innocent. Though it is from his perspective it was clear even during the S.A. scene that Le Gris was still an assailant, and not a Lancelot-esque lover to Marguerite. There are moments when it seems that Marguerite is being playful, such as the chase scene between her and Le Gris and it seems that she wanted him to catch up to her, at least from his perspective, but his story does also keep in perspective the misogynistic imbalances of the medieval ages concerning S.A. and the mindset of “Oh it was just a playful disapproval.” Le Gris, even in his own truth story is painted as a chauvinist.

I like the straight forward title fade during “Chapter 3: The Truth According to Marguerite de Carrouges” to just “The Truth”. Yes this is the truth from her perspective, and to the true history the historical documents claim “no one truly knows what happened”, but it echoes the sentiment of the “me too” movement which is that the truth from the assaulted is usually the truth.

We won’t go on a political tangent about that, but I believe this movie was not seen because of the fact that the theme of the movie is that the truth of the victim is the truth that tends to be buried because of the repercussions of an inherently misogynistic system, and that is it usually the truth. This sentiment has and is still highly politicized and to be noted because of this sentiments weaponization as well, which is a shame in itself. I feel however it’s less of a commentary of today’s situation of S.A., but a warning to what can be if voices are silenced and S.A. is allowed to just be cast off.

The movie does tend to grant weight to the accusation of S.A. and definitely treat it as a serious offense even back in the medieval age, but the ease at which it is brushed off is also shown. This is the important message I believe the movie is stating. Do not allow serious accusations to fall in the wayside, but seek truthful and sometimes painful justice in order to uphold true innocence.

In the third chapter we see Marguerite as a devoted, yet unsatisfied wife. She devolves into gossip from time to time, but her love and devotion to her husband and his household are true. She is also shown to be a very capable partner who is stifled by her husband’s pride and hubris, and this is what ultimately brings us to the arrival of her potential death by being burned alive.

Marguerite is definitely the protagonist of this film, and she is the only character in which sympathy is truly awarded. She is incapable of taking matters into her own hands even when seeking justice, because of a system that does not see her as capable, even though she could be if it let her. And because the only way to fulfill her desire to see justice and stand up for truth is through her husband and that desire if hers is filtered through his pride, hubris and rivalry her life is out on the line.

She sums it up best when she is confronted by her husband after the trial,

“Sir Jean de Carrouges ‘God will not punish those who tell the truth’

Marguerite de Carrouges ‘My fate and our child’s fate, will not be written by God’s will, but by which old man will tire first.”

Her fate is placed in the hands of those who wish to absolve themselves of crime and those who wish to save their own pride because “they had been wronged”.

The duel scene itself is brutal and bloody and is the tensest fight I’ve watched in a long time. My teeth were grit the entire time and though I cheered for de Carrouges it was only because the fate of Marguerite was in his hands. If he did not win this her truth would be buried along with his body and the ashes of her.

I definitely recommend seeing The Last Duel. It deserved to be watched in theaters and after watching this and “Where The Crawdads Sing” and knowing both were in theaters it’s making me rethink my theater strategy.

Marvel and other comic book movie events are taking away from the richness of what cinema used to be and what it could still be, and I think my movie ticket purchases will swing more toward the movies that aren’t a part of a cinematic universe.