Content warning: References to sexual assault.
The trailer for The Last Duel (2021) dropped recently, and while there haven’t been a lot of promotional shots showing the costumes, we thought it was worth mentioning since it’s shaping up to be a hot ticket film, what with Adam Driver starring opposite Matt Damon.
Set in the 14th century, this film is based on a true story of the last trial by combat in the Kingdom of France. The precipitating event leading up to the duel between Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), a knight from Normandy, and his neighbor and fellow knight, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) was Carrouges’ wife’s alleged rape by Le Gris. After escalating the matter up to the Count d’Alençon but finding no recourse after Alençon effectively pardoned Le Gris without bothering to hear Carrouges’ wife’s testimony, Carrouges takes it upon himself to visit the King of France to appeal his case and call for a judicial duel to resolve the matter. I won’t go too much deeper into the actual history at this point, because I haven’t seen the film yet and can’t comment on how closely it follows the historical events, but suffice it to say, a duel gets fought and one of them dies.
What I do find interesting enough to mention, is that this is film was produced by Ridely Scott, who was also known for another dueling film at the start of his career, the impeccably researched The Duelists (1977). Now, as a producer, Scott seems less concerned with meticulous historical accuracy than he was as a director, and the costume photos I’ve found of The Last Duel bear this out. There’s some serious What the Frock? choices being made:
And speaking of armor … Now, I am not by any means an armor specialist. We have tried numerous times to recruit someone to come and actually do an overview of good and bad armor on film, but apparently we can’t manage to entice anyone with any kind of armor historian credentials, so I’ll be honest and say, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is based on some archaic helm from the era, and I’m just talking out of my ass. But seriously…
This guy seems to know what he’s talking about, so since we don’t have our own in-house armor expert to weigh in, I’m going to use him as our stunt expert:
I mean, really, we all know the “perfectly reasonable explanation for it” is almost entirely the result of having to figure out a way to show the audiences which actor is which, allowing them to emote and whatnot (although Adam Driver emoted just fine from behind a full mask as Kylo Ren, I’m just saying).
Anyway, we will be seeing the film when it comes out, so rest assured there will be more said on all of these topics.
Will you be watching The Last Duel?