top of page
  • Writer's pictureJames McCleary

The Last Duel // Film Review

Ridley Scott brings us one of the great films of his career, if only everyone would stop talking about Jared Leto.

"There is no right. There is only the power of man."

Despite its epic length, The Last Duel only has its three leads share one, largely silent scene. In it, three gazes clash; those of two abusers (one knightly, one Byronic), and a woman onto whom each projects a vain adoration. This image is revisited thrice through the film, exposing with each layer more of the men’s fragility and, most crucially, more of the work undertaken by the quiet Lady Marguerite (Jodie Comer) to sustain their ugly egos.

Comer is a tour-de-force, balancing effortlessly the task of unravelling a character who is frequently reduced in the eyes of her screen partners to set dressing, whilst constantly seeding hints of pain which grow and grow as each man’s control over the narrative diminishes. When she finally does take hold of her own story, the results are nothing short of devastating.

"Comer is a tour-de-force."

Director Ridley Scott has a knack for taking on genre pieces which weaponise tropes against their expecting audience, and this is no exception. Early talks of valour, friendship and dignity mark this as a period piece, but what Scott elegantly demonstrates through his three leads is that, while the words themselves may be dated, the excuses they stood for have never really changed.


bottom of page