Historical movies

How Last Duel’s reviews stack up against other historic Ridley Scott films


by Ridley Scott The last duel is hitting theaters soon and here’s how critics stack up against his other great historical films. Although he is best known to modern audiences for his science fiction films like Extraterrestrial, Blade runner and Prometheus, Ridley Scott also has a long list of historical film epics to his credit, including Gladiator, Kingdom of paradise, and the 2010s Robin Hood. The last duel isn’t even his first or second film in medieval times. Now 83, Scott continues to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile directors.

Scott’s The last duel tells the true story of the last officially sanctioned judicial duel in the history of France in 1386. It was a duel between two knights and close friends who had become bitter enemies. Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), a rude but fiercely courageous knight, and Jacques le Gris (Adam Driver), a clever and libertine strategist, met in a fight to the death after Jean’s wife, Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) accused the Gray of having raped her one day while de Carrouges was on a business trip. As they could not reach a satisfactory jury result and all three refused to retract, King Charles VI (Alex Lawther) decrees that they will settle the case via the then rare solution of a duel to the death.

Related: The Last Duel Cast & Character Guide

This is Ridley Scott’s first historic epic since 2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings, and reviews have been somewhat mixed, although most critics agree that this is one of Ridley Scott’s best films in years. Currently, The last duel holds a strong 87% review rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 7.5 / 10. Compare that to Scott’s past pure historical epics: Exodus: Gods and Kings (30%), Robin Hood (43%), Kingdom of paradise (39%), and Gladiator (77%). Terribly, The last duel movie is 10% higher than Scott’s acclaimed classic, Gladiator, and always slightly greater than Gladiatoraverage rating of 7.3 / 10. It is slightly incomplete to make a direct comparison of such films as Gladiator, released in 2000, has twice the reviews, and a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score tends to drop a few points as more reviews are added later. However, it’s clear that this has been one of Scott’s best movies in quite some time. Here is what some of the comments for The last duel have to say.


I could even argue that this is a Scott meta-commentary aimed at those who embraced Gladiator but rejected Kingdom of Heaven. Either way, this is an exceptionally compelling old-fashioned ‘movie film’, with a reflection on modern masculinity in the #MeToo era, when such things are increasingly rare. .

Roger Ebert:

And it all leads to the title duel which, even by the high standards set by Scott’s “Gladiator”, is what you would call a humdinger … when he delivers what the best of Scott and the company’s work. can do – and the imagery, largely based on a palette that could be a tribute to its antihero, whose last name translates to “the gray”, is often surprising – the commentary continued by the screenplay of the film is not entirely subsumed, but it is not. primordial either.


The regular outcome of the first impressions requires a duration of 152 minutes without chivalry … But each act is surprisingly fast. Affleck and Damon haven’t collaborated as screenwriters since Good Will Hunting – another film that mixed awkward ball shots with darker emotional calculation – and their creative partnership produces an equally invigorating mix of tones here.


Scott’s knack for directing a violent historical spectacle, so memorably displayed in Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, is fully on display in the bone-chilling, genuinely suspense-filled battle that ends the film.


[D]Despite being 152 minutes long, the wait is well worth it to see Scott flex his action muscles in a way not seen in mainstream Hollywood cinema since Kingdom of Heaven. It’s not the romantic sword fight genre of something like The Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones’ exaggerated emphasis on gore, but a grueling, brutal, and slow fight to the death that is also little romantic that a movie can be, with every hack, slash, and stab carrying enormous visual, aural, and emotional weight behind it to the point where this reviewer was almost tempted to look away during the fight.

Of course, not all critics were so enamored with The last duel, especially how Jodie Comer was sidelined and Marguerite undermined. Scott struggled to balance the film’s feminist message with a realistic depiction of how women were viewed in the 14th century and the criticisms he failed in this regard. Others pointed out The last duel‘s runtime, which some considered a bit too long thanks to the Rashomon-as a plot device consisting of unfolding the same events from the point of view of a different character in each act.

It’s almost a shame when Scott comes back into shape and finally pulls out the spears and blades. As the climaxing game is masterfully forged, it shuts Comer aside, and you’re so annoyed by the self-glorifying testosteronal idiocy of the men involved that it’s a difficult streak to thrill, despite the stakes.

AV Club:

There are limits to the structure of the film. Damon, Affleck, and Holofcener are saving Marguerite’s point of view for last, in part so that it can function as an overwhelming replica to the previous chapters – the female side of the story, finally showcased after two hours of blinded sides of the men. . Still, that choice leaves Comer a bit adrift: while Damon and Driver are complicated (albeit ultimately unsympathetic) characters, she’s strategically deprived of a lot of dimension until the home stretch – and at that point. , the film focuses almost entirely on her bravery as a victim stuck in a system stacked against her. The film has as much difficulty as Carrouges and Le Gris in really seeing Marguerite, at least outside the context of her ordeal.


The final duel is at the heart of the story of a medieval trial, and it may very well drag on as such in many cases. The film sings best when the director comes to his heartbreaking third act, and friends-turned-rivals of Matt Damon and Adam Driver face off in the historic duel. There’s another frigid side to the film (surely fitting the subject matter) that needs to be braved, and it doesn’t sway as confidently as Scott’s Best Picture winner Gladiator.

Anyway, strongly negative reviews for The last duel are relatively few by comparison, and most of the film’s reviews are outweighed by the other cool things the film has to offer, like Screen cryThe own review explains:

The build-up gives the title fight higher emotional stakes, turning it into a captivating show loaded with meaning. But the duel itself is less interesting than what happens before, the script and the staging laying the foundations in detail, allowing the viewer to enter this world through the eyes of his characters, while at the same time being careful not to excuse their behavior. The Last Duel may seem like a spectacle, teasing a gruesome duel to the death, but it’s more of an intriguing character study.

Due to its repeated three-act structure, some may become restless or bored. And the general public who expected a pure Gladiator-style action movie will be surprised, and some probably disappointed, to find that The last duel is a film with a lot more in mind and a lot more to say than the epic Russell Crowe. But it’s hard to argue with the positive reviews and The last duel features Ridley Scott’s inventive and powerful storytelling paired with some of the most thrilling action sequences he has crafted in years.

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