The Last Duel Trailer Shows An All Too Familiar Situation
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Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel Trailer Shows An All Too Familiar Situation But Set In Medieval France

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BY July 21, 2021

The newest Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) movie revolves around an uncomfortable topic. Uncomfortable, but it feels all too familiar. As we see in the newly released The Last Duel trailer, the movie is about a woman accusing a man of raping her and the consequences that follow; both to her, and the man himself. But the unique part is that this is all set in Medieval France, and the men involved are Knights. In a story that mirrors many of the situations brought to light during the #MeToo movement, I’m curious to see how a movie like this, with a period setting will actually play out. 

Good Will Hunting Leads To A Duel Between Knights

The Last Duel trailer Driver Image via 20th Century Studios

The Last Duel is highly anticipated for many reasons. It’s a Ridley Scott movie, which automatically shoots it up most of the lists of awaited films of any year. Then you add to the fact that the movie is from an acclaimed novel, which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are adapting as the screenwriters. The Oscar-winning writing duo from Good Will Hunting share that credit with Nicole Holofcener. Damon and Affleck also star in The Last Duel, although Affleck’s role seems to be more of a supporting one. The other lead looks to be Adam Driver, with Jodie Comer as the only female lead of the movie. But the one who also looks to be doing most of the heavy lifting. At least, if The Last Duel trailer is any indication.

It’s a movie packed with talent on and off-screen. But its subject matter is the most interesting. The Last Duel trailer seems to focus equal parts on the action elements of the movie, as much as on its story. The visuals look amazing as Scott directs amazing Medieval Knights jousting and in close quarters combat. The brief glimpses look stunning. But at the end of it, it’s still the story that intrigues me.

The Last Duel Trailer Is Me Too Set In The Medieval Era Of Knighthood

The Last Duel trailer Comer Image via 20th Century Studios

The Last Duel is about a Knight (Damon), his wife (Comer), and his squire (Driver). The story is seemingly about the fact that Comer’s character accuses Driver of raping her. Driver’s Squire denies, but justice and honor work differently in this time, so it seems like everyone from the King to others are part of this controversy. Eventually, Damon’s Knight challenges a duel, which seemingly involves some high stakes for the loser. Seems like it’s trial by combat, but if Damon loses, it’ll declare his wife to ‘bear false witness’, or basically have lied, which is punishable by death.

Tensions are high in The Last Duel trailer as emotions, pride, accusations, and honor collide in a story where the truth is of utmost importance. But not seemingly of consequence now that the accusation is out there. It’s the riveting subject matter, at a time that it feels all too familiar. With the Me Too era still very much in our minds, the scenes presented in this trailer feels Medieval retelling of the same situations we’ve heard play out today.

When a woman accuses a man of abuse, it’s the same cycle of events the movie almost imitates. But genuinely. Her integrity is questioned, the man denies, the husband’s pride is hurt, a witch hunt ensues. All the while the victim is seemingly the least of anyone’s worries and is interrogated just as harshly as the perpetrator of the horrible act.

The Last Duel Trailer Sees A Balancing Act Between Subject And Execution

The Last Duel trailer Affleck Image via 20th Century Studios

I’m still uncertain of how The Last Duel will deal with these topics—whether as a statement or commentary to its current-day parallels? Or as a genuine mystery for audiences, playing coy and leaving it to interpretation who’s telling the truth and who is to blame? And I’m even more uncertain of how either approach will play out. It seems that a woman’s life literally being on trial is a great metaphor for the court of public opinion that any woman who comes forth about her abuser faces today.

So to have Comer’s character’s life, be reliant on two men duking it out under the guise of justice for her, but in reality, more for their pride, seems tricky on paper. At the end of the day, Scott’s execution could alleviate all these concerns and feature a movie with great performances and storytelling. But the subject matter is definitely sensitive, and I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how it all plays out.

The Last Duel releases in theatres on October 15.

How did you feel about The Last Duel trailer? Are you as apprehensive about the movie as me? Let me know in the comments below.

Featured image via 20th Century Studios

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

adam driverBen Affleck. Matt DamonRidley ScottThe Last Duel

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