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The Last Duel

Pulled last week’s ticket to The Last Duel out of my jeans earlier and started thinking back to it. It’s really sad to me that this bombed at the box office – it was released a few days before I saw it and left cinemas round here a few days after. I don’t think it’s a fantastic film or anything, but if an original movie directed by Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver can do so badly then what chance does any other film that isn’t already a successful IP stand? This bombing gives studios a good reason to keep adapting, remaking, rebooting and expanding on the stuff that already makes money, rather than giving something new a chance. As someone who tries to write screenplays, it’s a harsh reminder of how little of an opportunity there is to actually do anything with them. 

The movie itself is a Rashomon style narrative – we see the same story from different perspectives. I thought it could’ve been done a lot better, not least to justify its fairly gruesome subject matter. Given the weight of its content, not a great deal actually changes between arguably the two most important of the perspectives that we see. I wouldn’t go as far as some other reviews have – I’ve seen one that describes it as a medieval soap opera and another that says it’s a film about men becoming the victims of a woman they’ve abused in different ways. I’m not sure either of those interpretations are really correct, but equally I don’t think the film puts up a good enough argument for why it’s anything else. 

One thing I loved was the practical effects and real life locations. Somebody (I can’t remember who)  once said that CGI looks real but feels fake, whereas practical effects look fake but feel real. That’s exactly how I’d describe what’s on show with this, and I have to say it’s really refreshing to see a brand new film with so little CGI.

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