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The Last Duel. Damon, Comer, Affleck, Driver, Mr Scott dir


gizmo1990
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It feels like it's been a very long time since we had a movie like this.  Comer and Driver are amazing.  Mullet Damon and blond Affleck take me out of it slightly, but seems like they have writing credit?  That must be a first since Good Will Hunting.

 

Rewatched the Duellists not long ago, still very enjoyable.  This is very much in Ridley Scott's wheelhouse, he can do fantastic work if he has a good script.  And the guy is a machine, making so many movies in his 80s.  All the Money in the World was decent and came out not long ago, and he's got this and House of Gucci is due this year too.

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  • 2 months later...

I saw this last night after reading some good reviews last week. I hadn’t heard of it up to that point. I loved it! Maybe your enjoyment will hinge on whether the structure of the film works for you - I had to be on the ball when watching it. Critics seem a bit split on that. I really cared for the characters and what happened at the end.
 

I’m glad it got made but when I read it cost $100m to make for a sometimes brutally violent, 18 rated, 2 and a half hour film released kind of the same time as Bond……it was always going to bomb wasn’t it? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Great interview with Ridley Scott about everything: 

 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/deadline.com/2021/11/ridley-scott-house-of-gucci-lady-gaga-adam-driver-the-last-duel-oscar-season-1234872529/amp/

 

and I do mean great. I was going to make a new thread it's that good. I don’t think there's any other 83 year old (84 in 2 weeks) who talks like Scott does or has the energy he does. 

 

The shooting with 4 cameras thing to reduce the takes by getting the supporting characters in the moment, I don't really know why this isn't standard, maybe it is but when directors/cinematographers mention it they present it as radical. I listened to the Deakins interview with the cinematographer of Rain Man and he said he asked a second camera operator to catch Hoffman's little touches and really before that film he never did it and no one else did but after it was a must. 

 

Quote

DEADLINE: I recall you telling me of a lunch you had with Clint Eastwood about how much you loved Rawhide. Is a Western on your wish list?

 

SCOTT: Oh, my God, I’d love to do a Western. You know when I mentioned that to Clint, he’d forgotten he’d done fucking Rawhide.

 

DEADLINE: Really?

 

SCOTT: I said I watched this show called Rawhide on TV. He said, really? I said, you were in it. He said really? I said yeah, you were playing a guy called Rowdy Yates. He went ‘oh, fuck.’ Well, that was 60 years ago, man.

 

DEADLINE: You got a Western in mind? 

 

SCOTT: There’s a couple of Westerns that circle the wagons. I think Kevin Costner had the right thing going where he wanted to respect what has happened to the Native American. I’d like to go down that route because the Western should be about the wilderness. I love the wilderness, going that far back. Jeremiah Johnson was another I’ve watched several times with Bob Redford. That was a story of evolution, how a man comes in to try and make his way in an unforgiving territory, and fundamentally, people who didn’t quite understand why they were there. But they weren’t bad people. You’ve got to sort that out. Who did what to who, and it’s a massive case of xenophobia, right?

 

DEADLINE: Is there like a dream project that you are building towards?

 

SCOTT: No. I haven’t seen it yet.

 

I'd like to see a Ridley Scott western, I watched Hannibal the other day, never seen it, and the cinematography is so good, not even really needing to be in places. There's a totally redundant scene where the Italian cop in Florence has a paper and walks out into the rain holding it above his head as a car passes in front of him and he crosses the road and it's so stunning. The film itself kind of meanders and is mostly saved by its shots.

 

Scott's films to me, half of them give the impression he's not committed to the story or that the story isn't that compelling but he's more interested in world building to care. He doesn’t write his films but does develop the scripts and him going into detailed passion about House of Gucci in that interview contradicts the sense he's only interested in the world building. There's a detached coolness to his films without the kind of I dunno thematic transcendent iconicness of Kubrick. Half of Scott's films you do think 'why make this?' Kubrick wouldn't just make Body of Lies, he'd try to encapsulate so much more with whatever happens in the film. 

 

That he's so work obsessed and no nonsense he has an attitude of 'okay yeah that's good enough let's do it'. Not someone who stews over things and is searching for something else, something more profound. He's not remotely sentimental, it's hard to say his films are an expression of deep soul searching thoughts he has. Old age is not really bringing the wisdom out of him, he's as brutish as ever. 

 

I'm looking forward to The Last Duel though and I much prefer Scott being like this, do a film, move on, then how James Cameron ended up. I really do want to see that western though, too. And a Napoleon film with Joaphin Phoenix and another Gladiator film? yes. 

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I saw this a few weeks ago in cinema and really liked it.  A bit sad that it didn’t do better in box office, it was hard to find screenings but the one I went to was almost full.


A heads up that the Last Duel will be on Disney+ from Dec 1st in UK/Ireland (not US).  


https://whatsondisneyplus.com/the-last-duel-coming-soon-to-disney-uk-ireland/

 

Not having read about it didn’t expect the Rashomon structure. I liked that the first chapter was the most traditional hero’s journey, the second almost comic in places and the third almost tragic. The movie doesn’t leave much doubt which perspective we are supposed to align with.

 

Spoiler

 I was surprised the different perspectives are so similar, often the dialogues is exactly the same, but only who says them and how the actors say them are different. I guess the subtle differences in those scenes are effective, in that they are not outright lies and there is truth in each perspective. they are not stories they are telling in court with an agenda, but more like how each of them remember the events and The men see themselves as the heroes And the actual victim is just background to their conflict. We see the rape scene from Jacques Le Gris'’ pov first, but even then it was obvious that it was rape, and he knows it. One thing that varied most was probably Damon’s character, from being the hero, to the fool, to the stern prideful husband.

I expected more of the movie to be about the events after the rape going up to the duel though, with her pregnancy and having he son. I thought that was where the most interesting drama was, where Marguerite showed her strength. That part around “a son needs his mother more than a mother needs to be right” invites so much more examination on journey in that year. The part after the duel and up to her being happy with her son could have been fascinating too. The movie started with battle scenes like you would expect from Ridley’s Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven. Looking back from the end of the movie, it felt like a bit of self critique, those stories men tell themselves about themselves are so full of hubris.

 

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28 minutes ago, Capwn said:

That seemed like a great post but i know nothing about the story and had to stop, as I personally felt like you’re going into spoiler territory there.


apologies, thanks for the heads up, edited with spoiler tag in what I think is in the right place now.  
 

also, quite enjoyed the History extra podcast on this afterwards.  
 

https://play.acast.com/s/historyextra/trialbycombat-therealhistorybehindthelastduel


Spoilers towards the end of podcast obviously.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Watched this tonight. Not too bad a film considering the disastrous start. Not one I'll ever watch again though, if I'm honest. 

 

Ridley Scott has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to these kind of period films. Most people love Gladiator (I adore it) but that film is over 20 years old and of its time. Now? Well, now times have changed to the point that seeing Ben Affleck with blonde hair playing a French Count with a really bad English fucking accent* is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. For what it's worth, Affleck was pretty decent in this, but it's so hard to see past the star American actors. 

 

Comer was superb throughout though.

 

*well of course they speak with badly attempted English accents, that's the rule of period movies. :rolleyes:

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I didn't like the start, it was in a massive rush to get to...

Spoiler

... the marriage ...

... which of course it kinda had to because of the way the story is told. But I'd have still liked a touch more build-up to certain events. For me the movie finds its groove during Le Gris' telling of the story, observing the differences (sometimes stark) between the three was indeed very entertaining. 

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Ah, it would appear there's a split regarding the beginning. I'm definitely in the "too rushed at the start" camp. 

 

edit: Thing is, with the benefit of hindsight I can understand your argument too. Perhaps on a rewatch it will appear to be better paced. :)

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36 minutes ago, Thor said:

Ah, it would appear there's a split regarding the beginning. I'm definitely in the "too rushed at the start" camp. 

 

The 'not intelligent enough to understand garbled, rushed storytelling' camp you mean? Right here with ya.

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I’d have to rewatch to give a more considered opinion but I thought the beginning set up the film including the key characters and their conflicts really well.
 

I was completely absorbed by the atmosphere , nobody does “It’s fucking cold and miserable and I’m likely to get a sword to the face any second” better than Ridley Scott.  And that final 20 mins:

 

Spoiler

I hadn’t read up on the story so found the duel unbearably tense, especially when the camera pulled back on Marguerite to show she was sitting in her pyre.  

 

I hope we can all at least agree that Affleck gives one of the all time great deliveries of ‘cunt’ in a film.

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I thought this was tremendous; an intelligent, intense piece of work directed by someone who, when the stars align, is able to put every bit of his forty five years of feature filmmaking experience up there on the screen. I’m slightly amazed people are criticising the opening, I thought it was great - it told you everything you needed to know in quite an excitingly fast-paced way. 
 

I didn’t know anything about the actual events either, so the titular duel had me writhing about on the sofa like an eel. Brilliant stuff. The trick of showing you the same events from different perspectives is an old one, but it was highly effective here. In particular, the 

Spoiler

shift to a woman’s perspective in the last section was especially well done, and tangibly different from the rest of the film - it really highlighted how sidelined the women were in the rest of the film, and how diminished their lives were.


The only negative really was the exceptionally poor fake pregnancy about forty minutes into the film, which is not usually the kind of thing I would let spoil a film but this was exceptionally bad, and looked like the lady had stuck a helium balloon down her dress. I also found it a bit distracting that Adam Driver’s henchman, the psycho from The Terror, was in the background of every other scene, smirking disconcertingly at the camera, but this was otherwise pretty fantastic. 

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Agree this was really good and loved the beginning. Thought I’d missed something but then it made perfect sense to set up the different perspectives. I liked that the recollections were subtly different and not exaggerated as though we were seeing testimony before the court. Thought it was a bit unnecessary to keep the words ‘The truth…’ up longer for Act 3. 
 

The accents were a bit all over the shop but that faded into the background in the end as I thought the performances were excellent pretty much throughout. Even Affleck was good. Comer stole the show however.

 

As others have said, the actual duel was super tense. The whole movie looked incredible and that final scene with

Spoiler

Marguerite and her child

was just perfect.

 

Kudos to Ridley Scott. Not a bad effort for an 84 year old!

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You would have to have a brain made out of wood to come out of that film thinking “I’m going with Adam Driver’s character’s version of events”. Jesus Christ, what a depressing question. 

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I think the main question would be, for me at least...actually i'm paranoid this is also a stupid question now hmm

 

Spoiler

Did Adam Driver's character truly believe it was not rape when in his final moments he yells that it wasn't or was he trying to mess with Jean de Carrouges' head?

 

Of course he fucking did right?

 

Ridley has been having fun on the press tour of this:

 

 

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1 hour ago, Loik V credern said:

I think the main question would be, for me at least...actually i'm paranoid this is also a stupid question now hmm

 

  Hide contents

Did Adam Driver's character truly believe it was not rape when in his final moments he yells that it wasn't or was he trying to mess with Jean de Carrouges' head?

 

Of course he fucking did right?

 

 

Spoiler

I think with the political and societal structure of the time (women as property with very little personal agency), plus his own ego and misinterpretation of Marguerite's attitude towards him, he probably really thought he'd done no wrong - at least in terms of the specific charge of rape. We know his version of events is bullshit, and very much hero of his own narrative stuff, but I believe he's genuinely drawing a distinction between consensual adultery and rape and actually thinks he's innocent.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Watched this tonight and thought it was fantastic, though I'm not surprised it bombed - an enormously expensive but ridiculously niche film.

 

I struggled having to watch 

 

Spoiler

the rape scene twice.

 

It let the audience make their own decisions more than most films, though as someone else has mentioned 

 

Spoiler

keeping "the truth" up for longer at the start of Marguerite's section was hammer-subtle at best.

 

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On 05/12/2021 at 22:16, Sabreman said:

 

  Hide contents

I think with the political and societal structure of the time (women as property with very little personal agency), plus his own ego and misinterpretation of Marguerite's attitude towards him, he probably really thought he'd done no wrong - at least in terms of the specific charge of rape. We know his version of events is bullshit, and very much hero of his own narrative stuff, but I believe he's genuinely drawing a distinction between consensual adultery and rape and actually thinks he's innocent.

 

 

Spoiler

I think you're right - especially as he refers to it as the "customary protest". He's not particularly bothered about women fighting back and doesn't regard it as anything to do with their desire to have sex with him. It's sort of an odd combination with his words about them being 'lovers', though.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Fantastic film. Surprised and disappointed to hear this fared badly at the box office, but then even this very forum has only mustered 1 page of reaction. I feel like in an earlier era this would have been a sure hit. 

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