Capsule review of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival
The last duel, 2021.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
With Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, Marton Csokas, Harriet Walter, Clare Dunne, Zeljko Ivanek, Nathaniel Parker, Michael McElhatton, Alex Lawther, Zoé Bruneau, Ian Pirie, William Houston, Sam Hazeldine, Brian F. Mulvey , Caoimhe O’Malley, Serena Kennedy and Julian Firth.
King Charles VI declares that the knight Jean de Carrouges settles his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.
Director Ridley Scott opens The last duel with a shot of two men getting ready to joust. As a woman watches with direct interest, it is reasonable to assume that, given the setting of medieval France 1386, one of the men is fighting for her and defending her honor. Ridley Scott also made the winner for Best Picture Gladiator, after all.
The last duel is the anti-Gladiator.
Written by co-stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (judiciously bringing Nicole Holofcener into the fold, presumably to polish the sensitive material and bring a more authentic touch to the female experience of these ruthlessly regressive times that, sadly, have yet to fully improve), The last duel is divided into three separate chapters. Each of them functions as a prospect for one of the main players in this tale of war, loyalty, betrayal, romance, and serious accusations that can only be resolved through a trial in combat.
Meanwhile, Jodie Comer, despite being a desperate spectator victim, portrays a fully fleshed out, layered character, proving that the other crime here is that she’s not at the center of it all. The last duel. Nonetheless, this film is still compelling, with four distinct central performances and a wildly tense final battle. Maybe, hopefully, happiness is on the other side.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter Where Mailbox, or email me at [email protected]