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Ridley Scott
Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer
Writing Credits:
Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

After a woman accuses a squire of rape, her husband pursues justice.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 153 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date:11/16/2021

• “The Making of The Last Duel” Featurette
• Trailer


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The Last Duel [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 29, 2022)

Back in 2017, Ridley Scott directed two films: Alien: Covenant and All the Money in the World. He then took a four-year break and came back with another two-movie year in 2021 via House of Gucci and the subject of this review, The Last Duel.

Set in France circa the late 14th century, battle-tested knight Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) enjoys a warm friendship with his squire, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). However, they suffer a falling out along the way.

This distance becomes a more active antagonism when Jean’s wife Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer) claims that Jacques raped her. As we see this dispute told from different perspectives in a court of law, we lead toward a potentially deadly battle between the two former friends.

Ah – the oft-used Rashomon structure! While that offers a well-trodden theme, it can work when executed in a compelling manner.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t really become the case with Duel. Despite the first Damon/Ben Affleck script since 1997’s Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, the story just doesn’t go anywhere especially compelling.

Duel takes its own sweet time to go anywhere, and that becomes an issue. It feels like the tale could lose a lot of the preliminaries and get straight to the main conflict more quickly without the loss of any necessary exposition.

Indeed, we wait 37 minutes until Marguerite makes rape claims. This seems like an awfully long delay to reach the movie’s main plot point, especially because Duel doesn’t use that space especially efficiently.

Duel attempts to pit medieval “chivalry” against the modern “Me Too” backdrop, and these social comments feel heavy-handed. Of course, the chauvinistic attitudes depicted in the film never went away, so they maintain relevance here.

Still, Duel lays these on thick. The story ends up more about land ownership and male concerns over status than the trauma that befell Marguerite.

We get the point. The men care only about money, status and property, with no interest in women except for as sexual pleasure or breeding machines.

While valid, this doesn’t exactly seem revelatory, and Scott fails to tell the narrative in a particularly involving or meaningful manner. Duel beats us over the head with its notions and lacks subtlety.

This leads to a slow and not terribly compelling drama. While the movie makes some valid points – and covers attitudes that remain too relevant today - Duel lacks real insight.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

The Last Duel appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie provided a strong transfer.

Sharpness was solid with virtually no softness on display. This meant the flick was tight and concise.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I noticed no signs of source flaws. Edge haloes failed to appear, and I didn’t discern any signs of digital noise reduction.

Unsurprisingly, Duel favored a lot of teal and amber/orange, though it opted for a grungier/gloomier take on these tones than usual. The disc replicated the colors as necessary and made them look positive within the production design.

Blacks were also deep and dense, while shadows offered appropriate definition. Overall, this was a very satisfying image.

I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio sounded very good too, as the soundfield seemed pretty involving and active. All the channels received a good workout as they displayed a reasonable amount of discrete sound throughout the film.

Of course, the action scenes offered the showiest moments, though all parts of the flick depicted a nice sense of environment. The film didn’t present quite enough battle/violent material to reach “A” level, but the track still created a well-rounded setting.

Audio quality was similarly positive. Dialogue appeared distinct and natural, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility.

Music sounded clear and bright and displayed good range. Effects were clean and accurate, while low-end boomed nicely. This was a very good mix that supported the material well.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a program entitled The Making of The Last Duel. It spans 33 minutes, 48 seconds and provides a “fly on the wall” view of the shoot.

I like this kind of presentation, and the program gives us some intriguing elements. That said, given that many of Ridley Scott’s earlier movies included exhaustive supplements, this one disappoints.

With The Last Duel, we get a 14th century tale that feels like an attempt to represent the modern-day “MeToo” era. This feels less provocative and insightful than it should, as the film tends to simply state the obvious. The Blu-ray comes with strong picture and audio as well as one mostly interesting behind the scenes piece. Duel beats us over the head with its messages and never quite connects.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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