‘The Final Duel’ Overview: A Medieval Epic within the Age of #MeToo
It’s no shock that Ridley Scott, who’s made his share of swaggering manly epics, has directed what could be the large display’s first medieval feminist revenge saga. Along with his love for males with mighty swords, Scott has an affinity for robust ladies, ladies who’re prickly and tough and pondering, not bodacious cartoons. They’re invariably beautiful, after all, however then all the pieces in Ridley Scott’s dream world has an exalted shimmer.
Even the mud and blood gleam in “The Final Duel,” an old-style spectacle with a #MeToo twist. Primarily based on the fascinating true story of a woman, a knight and a squire in 14th-century France, the story was large information again within the day and has been retrofitted to modern sensibilities by Scott and an uncommon troika of screenwriters: Nicole Holofcener and two of the film’s stars, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Collectively, they tear the moldy fig leaf off a Hollywood staple, the Arthurian-style romance — with its chivalric code, knightly virtues and courtly manners — to disclose a mercenary, transactional world of males, ladies and energy. The result’s righteously anti-romantic.
Damon, uglied up with slashing facial scars and a comically abject mullet, performs Jean de Carrouges, a nobleman down on his luck who makes ends meet by combating on behalf of the king. The machinations begin early and shortly go into overdrive after he marries a youthful girl, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), who brightens his life however doesn’t do a lot for his bitter disposition or unlucky grooming. Vainglorious and petty, his lips screwed right into a pucker, Jean settles down with Marguerite however seethes over his pal turned antagonist, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver, a juiced-up Basil Rathbone), a social climber aligned with Rely Pierre, a licentious energy participant (Affleck, in debauched glory).
It’s a juicy lineup of acquainted characters who’re greedier and pettier than those who normally populate historic epics. However there isn’t any noblesse oblige or courtly love, no dragons, witchy ladies or aggrandizing British accents. As a substitute, there are money owed, grudges, fights, liaisons, an occasional bare nymph and males endlessly jockeying for place. Jean marries Marguerite to spice up his status and wealth; Jacques enriches himself by currying favor with Pierre. For her half, Marguerite is handed from father to husband, who later, in a startling second, instructions her to kiss Jacques in public as proof of Jean’s resumed good will towards his frenemy. It’s a catastrophic gesture.
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