Jodie Comer puts in a flawless performance in real-life historical drama The Last Duel
FILM REVIEW: The Last Duel (18): out now at The Light Cinema, Cromwell Road, Wisbech.
Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck.
Director: Ridley Scott. Running time: 2 hours 33 minutes.
It’s lovely to see the big guns returning to our cinema screens after 18 months of Covid.
And following on from No Time To Die and sharing a release date with Venom, this historical drama has an all-star cast to equal any.
Screenplay writers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon star alongside Star Wars’ Adam Driver and Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer, whose other new release, Free Guy, was reviewed on this website last week.
The storyline is based on a real-life events from 1386 and sees Damon’s respected knight Jean de Carrouges challenge former friend and much-admired nobleman Jacques Le Gris (Driver) to a duel after Le Gris allegedly rapes his wife Marguerite (Comer).
The trouble is, in 14th Century France, women were expected to put up with such brutality and, by accusing her attacker, Marguerite puts three lives at risk – the duel will be to the death and if de Carrouges is the one to die, she will be a liar in the eyes of God and burnt alive.
The scenarios leading up to the rape are cleverly dealt with, the big screen showing us how each of the three protagonists says things played out.
Damon does a terrific job as the serious, brooding and frankly dull de Carrouges, Driver oozes charm and charisma as Le Gris and Comer puts in her usual faultless performance.
I did have problems with some of the other cast, however. It’s fine to have artistic licence with historical characters such as Pierre d’Alençon, and it’s true to say we don’t know a whole heap about him. But did he really spend most of his time drunk or in orgies? And surely he didn’t have boy band-bleached hair?
I also found Alex Lawther’s King Charles VI rather annoying.
Yes, a child king may giggle immaturely when faced with the task of whether or not to allow a duel to the death – but that kind of grave duty is the very reason the real Charles VI did not take up official duties until two years after the duel took place, even though he was crowned eight years earlier in 1380.
Those gripes aside, this is an enjoyable film with a satisfying ending, and certainly worth a watch.