Ridley Scott is no strange to medieval films. He’s tackled Robin Hood and the Crusades in the past. In his new film, The Last Duel he looks at the final duel to the death in medieval France. This five minute extended preview clip reminds us why Scott is one of the best filmmakers around. Great pacing, excellent cinematography and a suspenseful buildup.
The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals.
Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Le Gris is a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.
“The Last Duel” is based on Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, which brings the turbulent Middle Ages to life in striking detail. When etiquette, social aspirations and justice were driven by the codes of chivalry, the consequences for defying the institutions of the time – the Church, the nobility at court, a teenage king – could be severe. For a woman navigating these violent times, one who had no legal standing without the support of her husband, the stakes were even higher.
The Last Duel opens in U.S. theaters October 15, 2021.