The pandemic did not stop one of the most acclaimed directors in cinema, Ridley Scott, and this 2021 we will have the opportunity to see one of his films. The conversation quickly built for production House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga next to Adam Driver in the role of the director of the Italian fashion brand, which will hit theaters in November this year. But thanks to the pandemic delays, this year we will also have another high-profile collaboration between Scott and Driver with The Last Duel – 69%, a film starring Driver, Matt Damon, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck.
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The Last Duel – 69% bases his account on the book of the same name that was written by Eric Jager and was published in 2004. The adaptation was announced in 2015, but it was only in 2019 that its production was officially approved, with the confirmation of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as screenwriters, as well as their roles along with the announcement that the actress Jodie Comer, whom they will surely remember for Killing Eve – 98% and Free Guy: Taking Control – 96%, would also join the cast. The project, which was initially to be led by Francis Lawrence (saga The Hunger Games), is one of many that Disney received after the merger of its studio with Fox’s thanks to the multi-million dollar acquisition that began in 2017 and concluded in 2019.
The upcoming drama set in the 14th century marks the first script in which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck participate since Indomitable Mind – 97%, released in 1998, which earned them the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. But Damon and Affleck aren’t the only ones with the script credit for The Last Duel – 69%, as the duo wrote the libretto together with Nicole Holofcener , nominated for an Oscar for Could you forgive me? – 98%. While Affleck, Damon and Holofcener are a surprising trio, it is striking to know that the narrative structure of this film allowed the writers to work on different parts of the script based on what it pointed out. IndieWire.
The story centers on the last judicial duel that took place in the country, where one man was tried against the other in a deadly test of swords. This conflict occurs between a French knight and his squire after the former accused the latter of raping his wife. The duel is staged in response to the alleged rape of Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) by Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) and occurs after Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) accuses Le Gris of the crime. The stakes are high: if Carrouges loses the duel, his wife will be sentenced to death on a false accusation.
Due to how controversial its plot could be, it is surprising to learn that Disney did not sell the rights to another studio. It should be noted that this adaptation is based on real events, which are what Jager’s book brings together, so it is even more incredible that it can be easily compared to things that happen today, even when something like that took place several hundred years ago. The Last Duel – 69% it was presented at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, although not as part of the films that entered the competition. Critics are already talking about what’s new in Ridley Scott, and for now we can say that it has debuted with a positive rating, but opinions are divided. Here are some reviews of The Last Duel – 69%.
Ryan Leston on IGN:
A brutal and bloody duel sets the stage for an unexpected discussion about women’s rights. Ridley Scott lends a ruthless tone to this tale of terrible bloody combat. Based on true events, the film’s sad story and overwhelmingly bleak atmosphere set the stage for an emotional tale of a woman’s struggle for justice in the face of honor, duty, and alleged chivalry.
Jessica Kiang on The Playlist:
“The Last Duel” is not a revolutionary text and exists primarily as an excuse for a group of charismatic stars to ride horses and growl at each other by candlelight …
Ben Croll on IndieWire:
Staying true to its title in function and form, The Last Duel is in constant disagreement with himself. Alongside meticulous re-enactments of the late Middle Ages and some of the worst hairstyles ever seen on the silver screen, Ridley Scott’s lavish historical drama delivers 152 minutes of dialectical tension, mirroring their climactic battle almost beat-for-beat as we watch different versions of what this movie could be, until only one is left standing. Too rare a movie in today’s Hollywood battlefield as well, Scott’s medieval epic more than survives despite its hideous hairpieces.
James Mottram on Games Radar:
Scott’s regular cinematographer, Dariusz Wolski, employs a winter palette that brings the starkness of late 14th century France to life.
Jonathan Romney on The Guardian:
A top-notch all-star cast and astonishingly hideous hair can’t save Ridley Scott’s medieval epic. You tire quickly of the mud, metal, and permanently medieval weather – if it’s not snowing, everything is drenched in mist.
Owen Gleiberman on Variety:
Matt Damon and Adam Driver play French royal soldiers of the 14th century, in a story of romance and political betrayal that is told three times, from three different points of view. Perhaps once would have been enough.
James Mottram on South China Morning Post:
In a post #MeToo world, this story of sexual violence and the way the victim must fight to be heard feels absolutely timely.
Roberto Ruggio on Awards Watch:
… the script never finds its balance and does little justice to the character of Lady Marguerite.
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