Ridley Scott’s Long-Awaited film is an Ambitious, Empowering and Sweeping #MeToo Medieval Epic that Demands to be Seen in Theaters for Feminist Representation

by Hassan Ilahi

Testimonies of bravehearted women that jousted gladiator misogyny in medieval centuries are scarcely di-spartacus-sed in movies. Owing to misogyny over chivalry, medieval epics aren’t cho-russell-ing warriors that entertained commodus-anding monarchies. For instance, HBO’s Game of Thrones dethroned women as adult-westoros commodities whose stark-naked bodies belong to daen-g-erys monarchies with in-cersei-tous relations in tyrion-nous patriarchies. In fairness, Game of Thrones has braved incoming snow-y winters as fictionalized fantasy series without historical accuracy. Nonetheless, historians claim such television’s sin-lannister misogyny misrepresents medieval centuries. Contrary to common knowledge, Marguerite de Carrouges’ anecdote implicates women could publicly condemn rapists. Despite contrarian testimony, Carrouges became first-ever female to battle rape through duels over legal counsel. Nearly six centuries onwards, over hundred females’ (Carmon, 2021) testimonies against Harvey Weinstein claim Carrouges deserves appreciation. Why, then, have her victories gone with the wind from ben-hurried cavalries escaping kingdom of heaven cities?

In knight’s tale without bravehearted female gladiators, Ridley Scott’s latest film The Last Duel jousts crowning last duel fights that achieve maximum-us heights when women possess goodwill rights to challenge guilt-driver-n rape plights. Old-fashioned, empowering and sweeping, it demonstrates feminists deserve holding deplorable knights accountable. With literary adaptation, Scott demonstrates Middle-Ages misogyny and #MeToo century similarities. Boasting spellbinding cinematography, awe-inspiring action and phenomenal performances, it’s mesmerizing. Although The Last Duel’s unforgettable, it isn’t flawless. It’s rushamon-ingly paced, lacking multidimensional masculine characters. Nonetheless, it provides heartbreaking entertainment for historical buffs.

Set during 14th Century France, The Last Duel follows a lady whose foolhardy pluckiness to publicly prosecute assault instigates Normandy’s last duel. Jodie Comer personifies the leading role as Marguerite de Carrouges, a disadvantaged woman seeking independence from spouse Jean (Matt Damon). When Jean’s assigned knighthood quest, Marguerite’s dreams are fulfilled. However, Marguerite’s traumatized by sexual assaults. As Marguerite seeks justice, she challenges norms.

Ridley Scott’s always gravitated towards medieval centuries’ dueling daggers. Ever since he ascertained worldwide appreciation with 2000’s Gladiator, Scott has become a magnificent medieval filmmaker. His Oscar-winning movie Gladiator chronicled a maximus-umly heroic Roman gladiator’s journey to avenge murdered family. With The Last Duel, however, Scott builds his first #MeToo historical movie. It’s Scott’s first attempt to chronicle an abuse victim’s centuries-old pain-staking revolutionary patriarchies battles, but he accomplishes it successfully. Using spellbinding cinematography, Scott immerses viewers into a feminist’s journey toward gender emancipation during 14th Century France. Scott has always excelled at staging action using crowded colosseum countries, and The Last Duel is no exception. If Scott’s previous film Exodus: Gods and Kings earned outcry for disastrous CGI, he resists repeating mistake twice using practical effect. For an 83-year-old director, Scott proves he hasn’t lost eye for staging action in natural environment over CGI. Inspired by Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, Scott dexterously uses dark climate to signal France’s last duel reality. Like William Wallace’s stormy Scottish skies warfare, Carrouges’ duel occurs on grim day. Using climates, Scott signals the duel’s significance in deciding females’ future. Alongside cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, Scott detly stages historic duel. Scott honors historical duels, and his epic deserves Cinema viewing for this reason alone.

If feminism fighters’ centuries-old testimonies don’t attract your attention, however, there’re innumerable other reasons to watch The Last Duel. Scott successfully employs diegetic sound to demonstrate assault survivors’ distressing historical experiences. In Hollywood, most historical movies purposefully sexualize womens’ scantily-dressed bodies and resist di-spartacus-ing abuse’s effects. Case in point: Kevin Reynold’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves exposed female bodies to hooded thieves known for accomplishing robin-erries. This cultivates little emotions and exacerbates medieval centuries misconception. Thankfully, though, The Last Duel avoids these sexualized issues. Assisted by sound-designer Michael Fentum, Scott successfully employs diegetic sound design to demonstrate assault survivor frightening experiences. For example, diegetic sound’s employed especially impressively in sequence where Marguerite’s assaulted according to her perspective. During this memorable scene, Marguerite recounts her first-hand assault. From thunderous footstep to ear-splitting screams, diegetic sounds successfully signal Marguerite’s helplessness reminiscent of Cecilia Kass’ gaslighting in Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. Through ingenious sound-work, Scott commemorates rape survivors’ medieval experience. In sexually stigmatizing genre, it demonstrates feminist representation. Furthermore, Janty Yates’ costumes deserve appreciation. Imitating Enola’s wardrobe in Harry Bradbeer’s Enola Holmes, Margeurite’s clothes demonstrate her transformation from societal scapegoat to inspirational heroine. Through phenomenal production, Scott denunciates misogyny.

One can’t overlook phenomenal performances.

Jodie Comer delivers her greatest performance as Marguerite de Carrouges. Comer achieved appreciation for depicting psychopathic assassins in espionage TV shows (ex. Killing Eve). With The Last Duel, however, she takes on her first historical figure. It’s intimidating to depict legendary feminists that challenged 14th Century patriarchal sexism. However, Comer achieves it seamlessly. Evoking Kaitlyn Dever in Netflix’s series Unbelievable, Comer crafts an outspoken rape survivor whose unbelievable testimony’s questioned in suspicious society. With mesmerizing expressions, she captures courage, perseverance and righteousness of a justice-seeking feminist. It’s a phenomenal performance honoring abuse survivors.

Adam Driver is astonishing in the role of a scandalous squire whose squeaky-clean societal reputation’s mired by dire assault backfire. Deriving inspiration from Tim Robbins in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, Driver crafts a multi-layered medieval rapist with strong criminal behavior motive. As Jacques Le Gris, Driver shows knack for imbuing empathy in villains through body language. Whether he’s deviously eyeing victims or denying assault through confident postures, Driver signals a law-breaker’s grueling predicament using body-language. It’s a fantastic performance from seasoned star.

Concluding standout’s Matt Damon. As Margeurite’s husband, he instills goodwill generosity into a knight with stiff-lipped superiority.

Barring its fantastic performances, however, The Last Duel mounts ben-hurried rather than arthur-tling cavalries without excalibur machetes seven samurai use to des-troy adversaries in mount-rush-amon medieval movies. Scott’s decision to separate storytelling into three Rashomon-esque chapters is bold and unexpected, but it doesn’t work. Despite providing insights into each character’s sexual assault point-of-view, this repetitive structure hinders pacing. Due to this misjudged technique, sequences demonstrating Jacques Le Gris’ self-indulgent gratification are less entertaining than Marguerite’s justice journey. Henceforth, this structure seems more suited for psychological thrillers (ex. David Fincher’s Gone Girl) than historical epics. Furthermore, the movie lacks sympathetic male characters. For instance, we’re scarcely rewarded reasons to care about Jean de Carrouges besides fact that he exacts revenge on his wife’s rapist. Although it’s true that men weren’t commonly likable amid medieval centuries, real-life figures necessitate humanity. Consequently, The Last Duel falters.

Conclusively, it’s worth mentioning that everyone’s bodies will not outmanuever The Last Duel’s blood-dripping daggers. Unlike mainstream swords-and-sandals blockbusters, the movie’s traumatizing theme may ruffle sexual assault survivors’ feathers. The movie tackles provocative subjects including alcoholism, gender discrimination and punishment that’ll upset viewers. Viewers sensitive towards graphic rape won’t appreciate the movie. Consequently, The Last Duel won’t please everyone.

Ultimately, The Last Duel is a guilt-ridden nobleman challenging harvey-arassing sexual rape declaration which precede his goodwill reputation. An empowering but overambitious historical epic, it suggests women deserve jousting in colosseum countries. If womens’ destinies once hinged upon last duel between carrouge-ous seven samurai adversaries, it’s high time Hollywood heard bravehearted princess bride whine-steining victories despite 10 commandments avowing commodus-anding monarchies afraid to di-spartacus disparities des-troy-ed female testimonials in kingdom of heaven countries.

Hassan’s Grade: B+