It’s an old story. Homer already showed us in his Ilyas how far two rivals can go when they desire the same woman. Ridley Scott settles this well-known love triangle in the Middle Ages and lets Matt Damon and Adam Diver compete in the last duel.
THE LAST DUEL IN A NUTSHELL
The movie is an adaptation of Eric Jager’s historical book “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France” from 2004. The story plays in France. It’s the late Middle Ages, more precisely the year 1386. Of course, life was not easy in this time of knights and wars. Especially for women.
One of those women is Marguerite de Carrouges. Even as a lady and consort of a devoted knight to King Charles V, she has to face hard times. So, she accuses Jacques Le Gris, a nobleman, knight, and former best friend of her husband, of raping her.
Of course, to defend his honor and that of his wife, her husband, Jean de Carrouges, demands satisfaction. Hence, it comes to the last duel.
You will see in the film whether this also refers to the last duel of one of the two knights. However, the name refers to the fact that the duel, which took place on December 29, 1386, was the last judicial duel permitted by the Parlement of Paris.
Ridley Scott shows us this sixteen-year drama from the different points of view of the three main participants. So, it becomes very interesting when the happenings are shown from Marguerite’s perspective, a woman in the Middle Ages.
They have been best friends since their youth, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It was 24 years ago when we saw them together in front of the camera for the first time. And like back then, for Good Will Hunting, both also wrote the script for The Last Duel.
In doing so, however, they focused on the stories and perspectives of the male protagonists. They left the screenplay of Marguerite Part to the American director and screenwriter Nicole Holofcener. She has already put stories for hit series such as Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls on the screen.
Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon)
All characters of The Last Duel are based on personalities who lived in reality. So as Jean de Carrouges, who was born 1330. His name comes from the commune in the Orne department in north-western France.
He was a knight who later ruled some areas of Normandy. De Carrouges is loyal to his king in The Last Duel. He is a nobleman and a close friend of Jacques Le Gris. However, one day this friendship breaks, and friends become rivals.
Things come to a head with Jean’s wedding to Marguerite de Thibouville, whose father once owned the Aunou-le-Faucon estate. However, the then regent transferred this land to Le Gris. When Marguerite accuses Le Gris of rape, for Jean, The Last Duel is inevitable.
Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver)
Le Gris is also a French knight and educated nobleman. For his successful participation in some military campaigns, the count rewards him with lands and titles. He becomes a close confidante of the ruler. He is still at his side when Marguerite accuses Le Gris of rape.
Marguerite de Carrouges
Marguerite is the daughter of Sir Robert de Thibouville. He once betrayed the King of France.
After marrying Jean de Carrouges, everyone expected her to give birth to a boy who would be the heir of the family de Carrouges.
When she accuses Le Gris of rape, nobody believes or supports her but her husband.
Before the last duel, she gives birth to her first son Robert. And, after the death of her husband, she never marries again.
The LAST DUEL Review
With The Last Duel, Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck bring a topic to the screen that has lost none of its explosiveness to this day.
They solicit it in the age of knights, which is marked on the one hand by brutal wars and on the other hand by noblesse and honor.
The two main characters consider themselves to be honorable gentlemen. And they define their actions as a token of love for Marguerite.
On the contrary, the insight into her story, told from her perspective, allows us to empathize with her and recognize the contradictions on the male side.
With Marguerite’s persistence, Ridley Scott gives that this crime should be atoned for, courage those women and girls who have had to experience something similar to report it.
At the same time, by looking at the different perspectives, he gives the opportunity to question the male way of thinking and acting.
The Last Duel convinces with a demanding story, presented in a visually stunning spectacle. Not only is the story well told, but the actors are also in top form. This is how it becomes possible to empathize with them.
In addition, even if you are not a fan of fight scenes, The Last Duel still impresses us in this area. Ridley Scott knows how to transport a brilliant mix of drama and action onto the big screen.
Therefore, we give this remarkable knight spectacle 8 points.
Text: Marco Kokkkot
Assistance: Karina Kazandzhyan