Tag Archives: Adam Driver

My Thoughts on: The Last Duel (2021)

I was so excited by the idea of The Last Duel. It’s directed by Ridley Scott (he who gave us Gladiator and Alien just to name two), it was based on a true story, and its all-star cast included Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver. The 2 1/2 hour run time made me a little antsy, but I’ve sat through long movies before (Avengers: Endgame being the most recent example that I can think of), so I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. The story, for those not familiar, is based on the true story of when Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris fought a duel to the death after Carrouges’ wife Marguerite accused Le Gris of raping her. It should be a completely compelling story.

Then I actually went to the movie theater and watched The Last Duel and I left disappointed.

It’s not all bad. At its heart, The Last Duel contains a very important message about rape and being held accountable for one’s actions, even if all the world says you shouldn’t say such things. I can’t fault the film in that regard. I should also say that Jodie Comer and Adam Driver both turn in magnificent performances and the titular duel itself is a thing of beauty to behold. If you make it all the way through the movie to the duel, you will not be dissatisfied.

No, my big issue is with how the film is put together. The story elements are good, they really are, but the way they’re put together…a big chunk of the film comes across like a disjointed mess. One scene will cut to another and it’ll take you a few minutes to realize that years have passed between these two scenes. It’s just not how I would’ve imagined a story like this being told. I thought it would be one big epic like Gladiator and that’s not what we get.

The large scale format of how The Last Duel is told is interesting, I’ll give it that. The story is essentially divided into three perspectives, with each retelling of the story emphasizing (or glossing over) certain story elements based on whose perspective is being shared. It’s the classic Rashomon effect, where we see the same story from multiple perspectives, except that instead of the true outcome being left completely up to the audience to decide, it is subtly hinted that one of the viewpoints is actually the true one.

I think part of my problem is that I misunderstood what this story would be about. The trailers led me to believe that the issue at question was whether or not the rape took place. It sounded like this was going to be strictly a case of “he said/she said” with the truth ultimately left unrevealed.Maybe I should’ve known better given what I read of the real life story before going to see the movie…but that’s what I get for misreading the trailer I suppose.

I can’t in good conscience recommend The Last Duel, but I am curious to see what all of you thought about the film. Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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My Thoughts on: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

(author’s note: I’m BACK everyone!!)

2019 will definitely be remembered as a time of endings in cinema. Not only did this year see the 11 year Infinity Saga come to an end with Avengers: Endgame, it also saw the Skywalker Saga come to a close with the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

And what an ending it is! This is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for two years and after the teaser trailer revealed that the Emperor would be returning (a moment that completely blew my mind I assure you), I was more eager than ever to see how the final installment would play out. And while my many theories all proved to be woefully incorrect, that didn’t change the fact that I loved this film. Don’t let the critics turn you off from seeing The Rise of Skywalker, it IS a good story and a great conclusion…provided you go in with a completely open mind as to how the story can end.

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Now, I will admit that The Rise of Skywalker isn’t a perfect film by any means. Could the film have done better in explaining how the Emperor returned? Yes, it could’ve. Could a certain plot point with a certain First Order spy (name withheld because spoilers) have been expanded upon? Oh most definitely. And could we have had a lot more Force ghosts? Yup, no doubt. But really these are minor nitpicks and not gaping plot holes. Of course no movie is going to be completely perfect, and I wish people would remember that more often.

One thing this film gets completely right is its treatment of Carrie Fisher’s final appearance. As you’ve probably heard, all of her footage (minus one scene) was taken from deleted footage created for Episode VII. I wasn’t sure what that would look like going in but it works. It doesn’t feel awkward, but it does make certain scenes very emotional when you remember that Carrie isn’t here anymore. Well done to J.J Abrams and company for getting this right.

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The lightsaber battles were everything I hoped for and more. My favorite is the fight between Rey and Kylo Ren among the ruins of the second Death Star. It’s full of such raw emotion, as all the fights in the sequel trilogy have been, and the ending of this particular fight had me in tears. I have to say that it will be hard not seeing Adam Driver in Star Wars movies anymore (note: I’m not spoiling anything, Driver has said he’s moved on from the character), he’s quickly become one of my favorite parts of the sequel trilogy, and his style of lightsaber combat is a lot of fun to watch. I will admit I didn’t see his character arc going where it did, but Abrams did a really good job with it, so I’m okay with it too.

Another thing I liked about The Rise of Skywalker are the many surprises littered throughout the film. Some you’ll know about from the previews, and some you will not see coming. Of course there is one BIG spoiler that is likely dividing fans as I write this, but I for one am okay with it, even though it did torpedo my “Rey is a Skywalker clone” theory into oblivion. If you take a moment and think about it, this particular reveal is entirely plausible, and it does make a lot more sense than some of the theories I heard. Also, on a random note: D-O is my new favorite Star Wars droid.

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And it wouldn’t be a Star Wars review if I didn’t take a minute to talk about the music. For one final time, John Williams knocks it out of the park with a fantastic score that ties everything together. Since this is the final entry in the Skywalker Saga, there are a lot of musical callbacks, especially to the original trilogy. There isn’t nearly as much prequel trilogy music as I would’ve liked, but it’s also entirely possible that Williams tried to incorporate some of those themes and it just didn’t work out.

I will close by stating again that The Rise of Skywalker is a good film and a good conclusion to the nine film saga. Having rewatched Episodes I-VIII before seeing this film, I can say that this film fits in perfectly with all the rest. I’m still a little sad that there won’t be any further adventures with Rey or Poe or Finn, but at least now I can go back and watch the complete saga whenever I want. Bravo to everyone who worked over the last 42 years to bring not only The Rise of Skywalker, but all the Star Wars saga films to life.

Let me know what you think about The Rise of Skywalker in the comments below (keep it civil please) and have a great day! I’m happy to be back blogging once more!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Solo: A Star Wars Story (with spoilers!) (2018)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), My Thoughts!!

My Thoughts on: Star Wars (1977)

My Thoughts on: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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