A Masterclass in Filmmaking – The Last Duel Review

The Last Duel: Directed by Ridley Scott

SYNOPSIS: King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

The Last Duel is why I love movies. Every single solitary element about this film made me excited. The cast led by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer, the writing team of Affleck and Damon working together again and the legendary Ridley Scott at the helm to direct. This film had the making of an absolutely legendary experience. Now, I would not classify this as “legendary” but I would more properly classify it as a masterclass, this project as a whole is a masterclass in filmmaking.

The performances are stunning. Affleck gives probably the least performance of all four, but is still highly effective in achieving what he set out to achieve. And that is truly a testament to the entire cast. They each had their specific roles in the story and executed to the highest of their abilities. Damon and Driver are brilliant as friends turned rivals but Jodie Comer, she is the standout of the bunch. She stands as both the constant of the story and the emotional backbone. Her performance is truly breathtaking and deserves all of the attention. 

One of my favorite parts of this film is the writing and the storytelling structure. When people watch this film they may say it’s a waste of time or too long and unwarranted. From my perspective it is incredibly well crafted and absolutely needed in order to understand the overall story and the themes that were being shown. Affleck and Damon, who were also joined by Nicole Holofcener, wrote a heartbreaking story that is the slowest of burns, but it burns so good. Who is telling the truth? What really happened? This in the end is really a medieval mystery that only has one true answer. The writing works and it works so well.

Ridley Scott is officially back, crafting a visually stunning and physically captivating environment. Shot very particularly and to tell a point, Scott is able to keep you fully locked into this story, no matter how slow it might drag at times. I will also add that the opening sequence is incredible and the perfect way to start this film. From the start I was locked in. The rest of the film from a technical standpoint is extremely well done from the cinematography, set and costume design and the score. Like I said before, this was a masterclass of filmmaking and something that should be revisited constantly. 

FINAL: The Last Duel is incredible. An experience that I will never forget anchored by fantastic performances, incredibly creative writing and solid direction. Everyone shines but Jodie Comer is the star. From start to finish I was left locked in and wanting more, even in the moments of calm. This film is the reason why I love going to the movies so much and I can’t wait to revisit it all over again sometime soon.

Point Breakdown:

15 for Entertainment 13

15 for Performances 15

15 for Writing 14

10 for Direction 10

10 for Emotions 9

10 for Cinematography 9

5 for Sound 4

5 for Score 4

5 for Pacing 4

5 for Rewatchability 5

5 pts Automatic 5

The Last Duel: 92/100

Jack Lautaret is a film critic and the founder of the Jack Lautaret YouTube Channel and the Finatic Film Review Podcast. He is a member of the Online Film and Television Association. Twitter: @JackLautaret

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