In 1998, two twenty-something actors took the Oscar stage to simply accept the Greatest Unique Screenplay award for Good Will Looking. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon giddily embraced their gold trophies after rising up two blocks away from one another in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You realize the remainder. The writers and stars of the drama have since gone on to turn out to be two of essentially the most well-known names working right this moment. Almost 25 years later, the pair have reunited on their second script collectively, The Final Duel. One could count on all of it to return full-circle right here, however that is no hometown coming-of-age story. It’s a Ridley Scott medieval epic deeply exploring the tough and age-old truths of a lady caught in the course of a person’s world.
The third essential piece of the puzzle right here is that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have written The Final Duel alongside Nicole Holofcener, who has beforehand written essential darlings Sufficient Stated and Can You Ever Forgive Me? The title refers back to the story based mostly on historic occasions, recounting what was the ultimate formally acknowledged judicial duel in France, fought between the brute knight Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and the devilishly charming Sir Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). Because the movie unfolds, it turns into clear that The Final Duel’s biggest weapon is just not in Damon and Driver’s clinking of chilly metallic, nevertheless, however the topic of the duel, Jodie Comer’s Marguerite de Carrouges, who simply steals the sword with the emotional jabs of her efficiency.
Ridley Scott delivers a nail-biting medieval epic together with his frigid, but haunting route.
The Final Duel imagines the time interval as muted and rugged, with director Ridley Scott returning to interval drama for the primary time in over a decade. Scott demonstrates a formidable maintain on setting up the story of The Final Duel, that includes dynamic, bloody sword fights and making every set really feel palpable and every costume intentional. Positive, Ben Affleck has humorous blonde hair with a goatee and Matt Damon is principally sporting a mullet, however within the context of the movie itself, Scott accomplishes the sort of immersion audiences wish to see in a film equivalent to this.
That being mentioned, The Final Duel is at its core the story of a medieval court docket case, and it might probably very a lot drag like one in lots of situations. The film greatest sings when the director will get to its gutting third act and Matt Damon and Adam Driver’s friends-turned-rivals duke it out within the historic duel. There’s an in any other case iciness to the movie (absolutely matched with the subject material) that have to be braved, and it doesn’t swing as confidently as Scott’s Greatest Image winner, Gladiator.
The distinctive three-act construction of The Final Duel is generally efficient, however not with out pitfalls.
The historic drama is advised in three acts, every respectively advised from the views of Matt Damon’s Jean de Carrouges, Adam Driver’s Jacques Le Gris, and Jodie Comer’s Marguerite de Carrouges. It’s an impressed construction that helps spark intrigue by means of among the movie’s drudgery. Every part isn’t essentially distinct sufficient for it to fully stick the touchdown, nevertheless it permits the story to unfold in an attention-grabbing manner. To see among the similar scenes play out from the male gaze to the feminine gaze is especially worthwhile, particularly in the case of the rape plot line that’s central to The Final Duel.
The three-act construction, which was additionally break up between Damon, Affleck and Holofcener when setting up the script, permits audiences to see how vital perspective and bias is in storytelling. By the tip of the movie, there’s a mixed empathy and complexity for every of the three characters, even to some extent in Adam Driver’s antagonist.
One other wealthy results of this selection is how nuanced a single act of lust turns into for a group (on this case, kingdom) to wrestle with. It’d be simple to make The Final Duel right into a rape revenge story, however that’s not what that is. Hidden between the sword fights and inflexible drama, it’s a deep and somber dialogue concerning the lasting affect rape cannot solely have on its sufferer/survivor, however the entangled causes as to why it was and sadly continues to usually stay a secret in the case of talking out and looking for justice for it.
The Final Duel illustrates that even when it’s challenged and tried in court docket, there may be little victory or gratification that comes on account of rape it doesn’t matter what sort of justice is served, and, on an eerie and exhaustive word, how a lot a rape case set within the 14th century holds relevance in our world right this moment.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s reunion could get the thrill, however Jodie Comer is the one who carries the movie to glory.
The Final Duel is overflowing with expertise. Matt Damon brings a recent efficiency to the desk as Marguerite’s husband and hot-headed knight. Ben Affleck steals a lot of his scenes because the highly effective, jovial, and carefree Rely Pierre d’Alençon, who retains Adam Driver’s Sir Jacques Le Gris as his closest confidant. Driver is working in acquainted territory right here, coming off of the intimidating presence of Star Wars’ Kylo Ren, however nonetheless is a standout, turning into as soon as once more a real ‘unhealthy man’ you’ll be able to’t essentially deliver your self to fully despise.
Strolling out of this star-studded movie, nevertheless, it’s Jodie Comer who completely turns The Final Duel round from an in any other case usually creaky medieval drama to an enticing movie that will endure for a while. Each character in The Final Duel conjures up emotions of being concurrently on their aspect and weary of their bias; Comer walks that line with essentially the most absolute grace. The actor carries a weight of lots of and lots of of years of collective dread in a concise and haunting manner. She’s a personality of few phrases, however depth of expression and emotion.
The one nitpick with Comer’s Marguerite de Carrouges is that we have now to attend till the movie is sort of over to actually get the scope of her efficiency. The Affleck/Damon reunion of all of it feels trivial within the shadow of Nicole Holofcener’s voice coming by means of Comer’s flip, and it is the important ingredient that makes The Final Duel essentially the most worthwhile.