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Though questionable haircuts took center stage in early reactions to footage from Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel,” the high drama and stellar performances should soon eclipse even the weirdest mullet/bangs combo. In behind the scenes footage released exclusively on IndieWire, Scott can be seen directing battle scenes and intimate tête-à-tête with the same intensity, confirming his place as one of our greatest living filmmakers. “For me, every scene has to have a stake. Large or small,” says Scott. “The message is simple: What do I want the audience to walk away knowing?”
Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck, “The Last Duel” takes place during the Hundred Years’ War in 14th century France. The film dramatizes the last legally-sanctioned duel in France’s history, which took place between the knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon) and his best friend and squire Jacques Le Gris (Driver). The former accused the latter of raping his wife, Marguerite de Thibouville (Comer).
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Here’s what IndieWire’s B+ review out of this year’s Venice Film Festival had to say about the film: “Keeping true to its title in function and form, “The Last Duel” is at constant odds with itself. Alongside meticulous recreations of the late middle ages and a few of the worst hairdos ever put on screen, Ridley Scott’s lavish historical drama offers 152 minutes of dialectical tension, mirroring its climactic battle nearly beat for beat as different versions of what this film could be fight it out until only one remains standing. And like any knockdown, drag-out melee that begins with a joust and ends in the mud, this push and pull between earnest epic and winking revision can be a bit of a mess for those in the ring and great fun for those in the stands.”
The film is based on “The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France,” by Eric Jager. The screenplay is by Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener, who split up the script to write from each of the three main character’s perspectives.
“The Last Duel” premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. 20th Century Studios will release the film exclusively in theaters on October 15. The movie will have at least a 45-day theatrical window before it becomes available on streaming. Check out IndieWire’s exclusive behind the scenes featurette below.
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