It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a big medieval epic, and that’s not something Ridley Scott can abide. The director of Blade Runner, Gladiator and Alien is back with a new “based on a true story” yarn with some very clear modern era ramifications in The Last Duel.
The place is ancient France. Killing Eve breakout star Jodie Comer stars as Marguerite de Carrouges, a woman who says she was raped by Jacques LeGris (Adam Driver). But when nobody believes Marguerite is telling the truth, her husband Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) challenges LeGris to a duel to the death, the last legal duel in France’s history. An almost unrecognizable Ben Affleck is also here as Count Pierre d’Alençon and, hey, when was the last time we got Damon and Affleck in a movie together?
Scott’s right at home with this setting, as few contemporary directors have more experience recreating the ancient world for modern audiences. The very serious and, tragically, always relevant subject material is another matter, as handling a story like this with sensitivity and moral clarity would be a challenge for any filmmaker, let alone one with an enormous budget on his hands.
But it’s hard not to trust in Comer, a terrifically compelling actor who’s about to be a very big star (you’ll see her next opposite Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy) and this looks like a great opportunity for her to stretch her abilities and demonstrate the emotional intelligence she brought to her portrayal of Villanelle on Eve. We’ll see how it goes in theaters on October 15.