Currently on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray Combo, DVD and Digital from director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Studios comes a tale of knights and betrayal leading to THE LAST DUEL.
Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is a man that has fought hard for King Charles VI and his country of France losing his wife and child. Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) is his closest friend and overlord of the King. That makes their friendship tense, especially when Jacques arrives to collect the taxes to help pay for the war, but Jean must admit that he has nothing.
Jean sees Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer) and an arrangement is made for them to marry. Count Pierre d’Alencon (Ben Affleck) shows him the lands that come with marrying his daughter. There is one piece of land that Jean notices and wants. Striking a deal for land and wealth, the marriage is done.
He learns that the one piece of land he particularly wanted, Pierre had already given to his friend Jacques. Jean decides to sue for the land, but King Charles (Alex Lawther) denies the case. Jean’s father passes and everything begins to swiftly move in the wrong direction. Pierre sides with Jacques and now Jean realizes his friend has received a military station at a generational family fort because of the suit he brought for the land.
When Jacques wife has a child, Marguerite and Jean find it a reason to celebrate and perhaps mend bad feelings between friends. All of that will have to wait because of the fighting in Scotland and Jean always goes where the king wishes. Coming home for a brief visit, Marguerite tells her husband that Jacques has violated her. The only way to handle this situation is with one thing – a duel to the death!
But who is telling the truth?
Damon as Jean is a man who has fought for king and country, lost his family once and could hardly maintain his own estate. Marrying saves everything, except one piece of land that comes between friends to the point of a duel. Damon is straight forward in his character and hides his emotions very well and instead finds other means to his detriment.
Driver as Jacques is a man who sees nothing wrong with getting what he wants even if it means betraying a friend. Knowing that the land Jean wants is part of a martial deal, he pretends to be the victim in all of this. When confronted he does not help his friend but instead enjoys the benefit of Pierre gifts. Driver also shows very little emotion, but it is clear this character knows what he is doing.
Comer as Marguerite seems to enjoy being married to Jean and is thrilled when she sees a chance to reconcile her husband and Jacques. When it comes time for her side of the story to be told, it is harsh and heart-breaking. It is a ‘he said-she said’ in a time when whatever she says means nothing in the era of men. The one thing that is absolute, Marguerite pays attention to everything that goes on around her from farming, horses to the tenants – even the cruelty of a mother-in-law and her station.
Affleck as Pierre is a man of indulgences, no morals and enjoys hurting people by any means whether it is fighting or taking something away from someone else. I have to say, Affleck looks like he is enjoying playing this character. Using Jacques to clean up his finances, he also sees ways to manipulate situations for his amusement.
Other cast include Harriet Walter as Nicole de Buchard, Serena Kennedy as Queen Isabeau, Sam Hazeldine as Thomin du Bois, Michel McElhatton as Bernard Latour, Oliver Cotton as Jean de Carrouges III, Adam Nagaitis as Adam Louvel, Clare Dunne as Ceila, Zeljko Ivanek as Le Coq, Caoimhe O’Malley as Elizabeth, Tallulah Haddon as Marie, Md. Tayeen Khan as Jack Smith, Bryony Hannah as Alice and Marton Csokas as Crespin.
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THE LAST DUEL is a period piece that gives us everything we would want for that time period. The dampness of war, lords and ladies, kings and queens, mystery, betrayal and revenge surrounded by castles. The destruction of war and the destruction of friendships are inlay for this based on a true story film.
Director Scott has given us a look at an ugly time in the Frances’ history of war and all the intrigue hiding behind fine clothes, wine and those who move the chess pieces to get what they want. I love the costuming and set design which always adds richness to the story and allows us to be distracted but the intrigue.
Telling the story in three parts is a way to see the accusations from perspectives that the others can not see. Jean and his family troubles, Jacques and his dealings with Pierre and Marguerite as well as the plotting done between the two. All these men against one woman’s say – it came to another fight!
In the end – a woman defied a nation and made history!