The Last Duel

The Last Duel

2021, R, 152 min. Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck.

REVIEWED By Matthew Monagle, Fri., Oct. 15, 2021

At the tender age of 83, Ridley Scott remains a force to be reckoned with. From his voyages into space to his big-budget period thrillers, Scott continues to step outside the comforts of his own franchises for new stories well-suited to his brand of cinematic worldbuilding. His latest, The Last Duel, is a sprawling treatise on sexual violence and the powerful institutions that rewrite history in their favor.

As brothers-in-arms in 14th-century France, Jean de Carrouges (Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Driver) seem destined to have successful careers in the king’s service. But as Le Gris finds himself favored by the aristocratic Count Pierre d’Alençon (Affleck) and de Carrouges’ mismanagement of his estate pushes him further into debt, tension begins to build between the two men. So when the latter’s young bride, Marguerite de Carrouges (Comer, Killing Eve), counsels her husband on how to mend this rift, it could represent a fresh start for both houses – that is, until Lady Marguerite accuses Le Gris of rape, resulting in a state-sanctioned duel to the death between the two soldiers.

Over the past decade, Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski have produced an unlikely string of Hollywood blockbusters, varying in tone but unrelenting in their beauty. The Last Duel continues this fruitful partnership, re-creating grand medieval tableaux as context for a three-person power struggle. Scott continues to do more in montage – quick-fire sequences of de Carrouges in battle – than most filmmakers would bother with in their biggest set pieces. The scope of these visuals provides an essential framework for the film, communicating how the fraying relationship between two noblemen could become a point of notoriety across a continental empire.

By splitting the three acts between them, co-screenwriters Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener offer a well-rounded perspective on the absurd nature of nobility. The Last Duel pokes its sword at a host of injustices, from the for-profit warfare that allows men like de Carrouges to prosper, to a corrupt legal system still held hostage by the power of religion. But the film is particularly ambitious in its gendered storytelling – the interlocking nature of the flashbacks calls attention not only to the points of disagreement but to areas of omission as well. Only Marguerite’s flashback exposes the horrors of the royal inquiry; the brash mythmaking of the first two acts depends entirely on Holofcener’s keen eye for the shadows of history.

And as is so often the case in A-lister cinema, each actor also lends their real-life celebrity to their character. It is hard not to see a little of the real-life Damon in Jean de Carrouges, a craftsman whose unforced conversational errors impact his standing at court, or to appreciate Affleck playing yet another miserable Lothario onscreen. These little sprinklings of metatextuality serve as a bridge between periods, allowing The Last Duel to feel contemporary without coming across as ahistorical. And rather than get lost between three big performances, Comer proves her small-screen success was no fluke, offering perhaps the most naturalistic and impactful performance in the final film.

Ultimately, if this film represents Scott making amends for the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven – an uncompromising period epic where sexism, politics, and proto-capitalism combine to soak medieval battlefields in blood — then it appears the universe has righted itself. The Last Duel is a thematic gold mine, one that sits nicely alongside some of Scott’s best work to date.

Showtimes

Mon., Oct. 18

2:35, 6:00

Tue., Oct. 19

2:35, 6:00

Wed., Oct. 20

3:20, 6:00

Mon., Oct. 18

2:20, 6:20

Tue., Oct. 19

2:45, 6:40

Wed., Oct. 20

2:40, 6:40

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., Oct. 18

2:25, 6:20

Tue., Oct. 19

3:35, 6:40

Wed., Oct. 20

3:45, 6:45

Mon., Oct. 18

6:00, 10:15

Tue., Oct. 19

6:05, 9:45

Wed., Oct. 20

7:00, 10:20

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Mon., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 6:40

Tue., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 6:40

Wed., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 6:40

Thu., Oct. 21

CC/DVS 7:20

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:20, 7:10

Tue., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:20, 7:10

Wed., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:20, 7:10

Thu., Oct. 21

CC/DVS 1:20, 4:00, 7:10

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:40, 8:10

Tue., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:40, 8:10
OC 7:10

Wed., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 1:15, 4:40, 8:10

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 12:00, 3:35, 7:10, 10:45

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 12:00, 3:35, 7:10, 10:45

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 12:00, 3:35, 7:10, 10:40

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 12:20, 4:00, 7:40

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 12:20, 4:00, 7:40

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 12:20, 4:00, 7:40

Thu., Oct. 21

digital 12:20, 4:00, 7:40

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 4:10, 7:45

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 3:10, 7:00

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 4:10, 7:45

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 1:00, 4:35, 8:10

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 1:00, 4:35, 8:10

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 1:00, 4:35, 8:10

Thu., Oct. 21

digital 1:00, 4:35, 8:10

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 1:20, 4:55, 8:30

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 1:20, 4:55, 8:30

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 1:20, 4:55, 8:30

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Mon., Oct. 18

digital 4:00, 7:30

Tue., Oct. 19

digital 4:00, 7:30

Wed., Oct. 20

digital 4:00, 7:30

Mon., Oct. 18

3:40, 6:55, 7:40

Tue., Oct. 19

3:40, 6:55, 7:40

Wed., Oct. 20

3:40, 6:55, 7:40

Thu., Oct. 21

3:40, 6:55, 7:40

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., Oct. 18

12:30, 4:00, 7:20

Tue., Oct. 19

12:30, 4:00, 7:20

Wed., Oct. 20

12:30, 4:00, 7:20

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Mon., Oct. 18

12:30, 2:45, 4:15, 6:15

Tue., Oct. 19

12:30, 2:45, 4:15, 6:15

Wed., Oct. 20

12:30, 2:45, 4:15, 6:15

Thu., Oct. 21

12:30, 2:45, 4:15, 6:15

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., Oct. 18

12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Tue., Oct. 19

12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Wed., Oct. 20

12:00, 3:30

Thu., Oct. 21

11:00am, 2:30, 6:00, 9:30

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Mon., Oct. 18

11:35am, 3:10, 6:45

Tue., Oct. 19

11:35am, 3:10, 6:45

Wed., Oct. 20

11:35am, 3:10, 6:45

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., Oct. 18

12:00, 4:00, 8:00

Tue., Oct. 19

12:00, 4:00, 8:00

Wed., Oct. 20

12:00, 4:00, 8:00

Thu., Oct. 21

1:00, 4:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC 2:25, 6:00, 9:35

Tue., Oct. 19

CC 2:25, 6:00, 9:00, 9:35

Wed., Oct. 20

CC 2:25, 6:00, 9:00, 9:35

Thu., Oct. 21

CC 2:25, 6:00, 9:35

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Oct. 18

12:40
CC 11:45am, 3:10, 4:15, 6:45, 7:50, 10:10
CC/DVS 11:45am, 3:10, 4:15, 6:45, 7:50, 10:10

Tue., Oct. 19

7:50
CC 11:45am, 12:40, 3:10, 4:15, 6:45, 10:10
CC/DVS 11:45am, 12:40, 3:10, 4:15, 6:45, 10:10

Wed., Oct. 20

4:15
CC 11:45am, 12:40, 3:10, 6:45, 7:50, 10:10
CC/DVS 11:45am, 12:40, 3:10, 6:45, 7:50, 10:10

Thu., Oct. 21

3:20
CC 11:45am, 12:40, 6:45, 10:10
CC/DVS 11:45am, 12:40, 6:45, 10:10

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., Oct. 18

3:30, 6:55

Tue., Oct. 19

3:50, 7:00

Wed., Oct. 20

3:50, 7:00

Thu., Oct. 21

7:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Thu., Oct. 21

4:00, 8:00, 9:00

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 6:00

Tue., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 6:00

Wed., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 6:00

Thu., Oct. 21

CC/DVS 6:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40
CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40

Tue., Oct. 19

CC 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40
CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40

Wed., Oct. 20

CC 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40
CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40

Thu., Oct. 21

CC 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40
CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:40, 6:10, 9:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., Oct. 18

1:15, 3:45, 7:30

Tue., Oct. 19

1:15, 3:45, 7:30

Wed., Oct. 20

12:45, 3:45, 7:30

Thu., Oct. 21

12:30, 4:00, 7:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., Oct. 18

2:15, 6:30

Tue., Oct. 19

2:15, 6:30

Wed., Oct. 20

2:15, 6:30

Thu., Oct. 21

2:15, 6:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC 12:00, 3:30, 6:50, 9:40

Tue., Oct. 19

CC 12:00, 3:30, 6:50, 9:40

Wed., Oct. 20

CC 12:00, 3:30, 6:50, 9:40

Thu., Oct. 21

CC 12:00, 3:30, 6:50, 9:40

Mon., Oct. 18

1:00, 4:30, 8:00

Tue., Oct. 19

1:00, 4:30, 8:00

Wed., Oct. 20

1:00, 4:30, 8:00

Thu., Oct. 21

1:00, 4:30, 8:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Oct. 18

CC 12:00, 3:30, 7:00
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Tue., Oct. 19

CC 12:00, 3:30, 7:00
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Wed., Oct. 20

CC 12:00, 3:30, 7:00
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:30, 7:00

Thu., Oct. 21

CC 1:00, 4:30, 8:00
CC/DVS 1:00, 4:30, 8:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Last Duel, Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

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