When his former friend is publicly accused of rape by his wife, a knight decides to pursue trial by combat to find justice.
THE GOOD STUFF:
-RIDLEY SCOTT AND MATT DAMON- Both of these dudes have been around for a long time now. (In the case of Ridley Scott, a really REALLY long time) Both have had a large number of massive hits and major misfires. Both have proven to be amongst the most reliable individuals in the game. This movie here is hard to measure up against their best, because they’ve had so many cherished films in the past.
It can be said here that both Scott’s direction and Damon’s performance are very good given the high bar we have come to expect them both to meet by now.
-ADAM DRIVER- Adam driver is slowly becoming one of the more reliable actors in Hollywood. He’s been on a monster run the past six years or so, and this film adds to his lengthy and impressive run. Rarely do I have anything bad to say about any of the supporting performances that he’s done. It’s also not close to being HIS best, but what he does in this film is also very, very good.
-JODIE COMER- I know many people don’t like this movie in the way that I like it. However, perhaps the Rotten Tomatoes rating is too low for anybody in the Academy to agree with my take that Jodie Comer deserves serious Oscar recognition for what she does in this film. In a movie headlined by two actors that have FIVE acting Oscar nominations between them, Comer quite simply dominates every frame that she’s in and effortlessly steals every scene that she shares with the both of them.
The entire third act is a fireworks display of her talent, and I can’t praise this performance enough. Given her comedic turn in the film FREE GUY in the late summer of this year (where she played two different roles), she is proving to be one of the MVPs of 2021 as far as actors go.
THE BAD STUFF:
–THE RUN TIME- The reason why this film runs a solid two and a half hours is because of the Rashomon method of telling one story from, in this case, three different perspectives. I tend to always respect films that try and do this, yet this film makes a cardinal mistake in flat out telling you what’s the truth and what’s not.
I always figured the intent of every movie that attempted the RASHOMON type of storytelling was to leave you to your own conclusions. But in this movie, you are simply UNABLE to do that. And I do find the method of the storytelling pretty useless, even though I respect the effort.
-THE UGLY STUFF-
Because we are not here to spoil things, I will simply mention one thing briefly. When it comes to films, I’ve often wondered why certain things are shown in detail. Things that could be implied heavily before certain actions occur can be confirmed by showing the aftermath of said actions.
For me, those certain things are torture porn-type gory scenes…and violence against women in domestic situations. I don’t know why SUCH detail is put into films like this. It will always mystify me. There are indeed two VERY violent scenes in this film against women, and rest assured, those would be some good bathroom breaks to take while watching this film.
Ultimately though, this is really good otherwise. But when you look at who is both behind AND in front of the camera…would you expect anything less?
THE LAST DUEL is in theatres now.