FILM REVIEW | The Last Duel

It's been almost 25 years since Matt Damon and Ben Affleck collaborated on the Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting.

The classic 90s drama is beloved and lauded for its story, but the Boston boys, in all those years since, had not written another film together.

Affleck had gone on to write his directorial efforts like Gone Baby Gone and The Town, while Matt Damon penned a couple of smaller films. But now the best buds are back with The Last Duel, a screenplay they co-wrote with Can You Ever Forgive Me's Nicole Holofcener.

Directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven), the film follows three figures in late 1300s France: Jean de Carrouges (Damon), Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver, Marriage Story) and the Lady Marguerite (Jodie Comer, Killing Eve).

We open with the men storming into the titular duel, before being taken to the first chapter: The Truth According to Jean de Carrouges.

As it turns out, the same events in the film are to be told three different ways.

Brutal: Adam Driver and Matt Damon in feminist 1300s epic The Last Duel, rated MA15+, in cinemas now. Picture: 20th Century Studios

Brutal: Adam Driver and Matt Damon in feminist 1300s epic The Last Duel, rated MA15+, in cinemas now. Picture: 20th Century Studios

And those events are fuelled by ego, entitlement, fear and pride. We learn of the friendship-turned-feud between Jean and Jaques, and how a violent incident with Jean's wife Marguerite brings everything to a head.

The Last Duel is richly shot, full of mud, fog, blood and lavish costumes.

The story itself - based on true events - is engrossing, as is the use of the 'unreliable narrator' technique to give the audience several versions of the same story.

It ultimately boils down to a musing on toxic masculinity, the centuries-old disrespect and disregard of women's agency and foolhardy subscription to unhelpful traditions.

Marguerite's chapter is utterly engrossing and Comer is a stand-out as the heart of the film.

The story is both modern and sadly timeless. Some of the violence, particularly of a sexual nature, is difficult to watch and should probably come with a trigger warning.

On the downside, for reasons unknown, everyone seems to be utilising different accents - Damon, Affleck (who is distractingly blonde) and Driver all sound American, while Comer and Kiwi actor Marton Csokas sound British.

Beware the two and a half-hour runtime.

Rating: 7.5/10