Review: ‘The Last Duel’ entertains like a medieval story #MeToo

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Jodie Comer in The Last Duel / 20th Century Studios

As the old saying goes, there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the hard truth.

Director Ridley Scott and screenwriters Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon create a compelling medieval soap opera around this saying with their latest film “The Last Duel”.

The historical drama is based on a true story told by author Eric Jager in his book of the same title on the last duel trial by combat recorded in French history in 1386.

The writers chose to tell their story from the perspective of the three main characters, a knight named Jean de Carrogues (Damon), his wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) and a squire named Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to show the personal vision. Of the history.

This format creates a modern allegory of the #MeToo movement that caught the world’s attention before the coronavirus pandemic redirected everyone’s attention. It’s a very effective storytelling vehicle to drive this not-so-chivalrous story of tough men and women who suffer from their arrogance, ignorance, and violence.

Jodie Comer and Matt Damon in The Last Duel / 20th Century Studios

As we learned in world history or western civilization lessons, the film details how marriages of this age were more of a matter between a man and the father of his bride-to-be than anything else. Unions were made to preserve, retain or attain wealth as well as to create heirs. Very little had to do with love or true companionship. They were just lucky byproducts if they did happen.

We see the story first from the point of view of Jean, then of Jacques and finally of Marguerite. Each story in the story adds more information and a little more perspective. I guess we’re supposed to recognize Marguerite’s version as the closest to the truth since she comes last and is the most detailed.

Jean and Jacques are squires together in the service of the king, and they take turns to save the other on the battlefield. Their friendship, however, turns sour when Jacques begins to gain power as a confidant, emissary, and debt collector for the party animal Count Peter (Ben Affleck) who views Jean as an idiot.

Before Jean marries Marguerite, Jacques forces his father to trade prime land in payment of the taxes he owes. Jean, who also has financial difficulties, wanted this land for himself as Marguerite’s dowry. Thus, a wedge is dug between the two men.

After a while, the two reluctantly bury the hatchet, but when Jacques notices the beautiful Marguerite, he must have her. While Jean is in the countryside, Jaques seduces or rapes Marguerite, depending on which version of the story you want to believe.

Adam Driver in The Last Duel / 20th Century Studios

Once Jean learns of Jacques’ misdeed, he continues the rite of combat to take revenge and honor his wife; however, this decision puts Marguerite’s life in danger because if Jean loses the game against Jacques, Marguerite will be burned alive at the stake for having borne false testimony.

Scott is a master filmmaker and he keeps the film moving with action and intrigue from the opening battle to the final duel between Damon and Driver, which is brutal. However, the film lacks the emotional impact of its better work.

Comer gives the outstanding performance in the film. It might not be quite a star performance, but that image could lead to a role that is. I’m not sure if I would rank this as one of Driver, Damon, or Affleck’s best performances, but each one is more than solid with Affleck having a lot of fun as the Amoral Earl.

The film could grab Oscar attention, especially in the technical categories. It’s a gorgeous film with stunning cinematography, sound, and costumes.

Category B
(D) 2 hours. 33 minutes.


New in local theaters

• Halloween kills (Watch the trailer) / (D) 1 hr. 45 minutes. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne, Skylights, 112 Drive In

• Lucky love song (Watch the trailer) / (D) 1 hr. 45 minutes. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback

• The last duel (Watch the trailer) / (D) 2 hours. 33 minutes. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Skylights


Classic Corner – Hammer Movies Horror Movies

Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley in Dracula: Prince of Darkness / Hammer Films

If you need a little help getting you in the mood for Halloween, Turner Classic Movies is here for you on Thursday, October 21 with a day full of horror movies from Hammer Films.

The London-based studio began making films in 1934, but the company took off in the late 1950s through the early 1970s with a series of gothic and fantasy horror films starring monsters. classics such as Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Dr. Frankenstein, plus plenty of blood, gore, and sexual tension as they could get away with.

While I personally prefer Universal Studio’s horror films of the ’30s and’ 40s, it’s hard to deny the power of Hammer’s horrors with their vivid and often garish colors, amplified violence, and PG-rated sexual sensationalism that doesn’t. might not even be suggested in films made after the Hays Code was introduced to Hollywood in 1934 until films began to rank in the late 1960s.

As a kid I always felt a little dirty watching the Hammer movies, and today I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the producers and directors of Hammer wanted.

Are the films quality films?

Story-wise, I should say no for the most part. I see movies as guilty pleasures, but Lee and Cushing do towering figures on screen. Their skills are superior to their equipment, in general. However, movies are scary, raw, and entertaining in their own way if you’re into horror movies.

My favorite of those airing Thursday is “Dracula: Prince of Darkness,” which was Lee’s second film as the Vampire Count. Interestingly enough, Lee doesn’t have any lines in the film. His Dracula, however, is quite menacing with his fierce gaze and several vampiric whistles.

There is a dispute over why Lee didn’t have lines. The actor, who was a British spy and secret agent during World War II, said in an interview that his lines for the film were so terrible that he refused to say them. Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, however, wrote in his book “Inside Hammer” that vampires shouldn’t be talkative.

I guess Sangster’s version is closer to the truth, judging by some of the outrageous lines Lee has spoken in other movies. However, Lee’s version of the story is more fun.

Overall, I enjoy Dracula’s movies more than Hammer’s Frankenstein movies, which mostly focus on the Mad Doctor and his vile exploits rather than his artificial monster, but Cushing is awesome like the pompous Frankenstein.

Free up space on your DVR so you can capture anything bloody. Here is the programming of the films:

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1965) – 6:45 a.m.


Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) – 8:30 a.m.


Dracula rose from the grave (1969) – 10:15 a.m.


Frankenstein must be destroyed (1970) – noon


Taste Dracula’s Blood (1970) – 1:45 p.m.


Crescendo (1972) —3:30 p.m.


Dracula AD 1972 (1972) – 5:15 p.m.


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