David Jurmann’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie gave me a serious case of déjà vu.
The Last Duel, directed by Ridley Scott, is a film with a lot of great, big ambitions, but an underwhelming and questionable execution.
This film takes an interesting approach to telling its story. And it's an approach that will likely make or break this film for you. I was fully able to respect and understand the reasoning for telling the story the way it does, but looking back, it does the movie no favors.
The pacing is very slow. It's around two and a half hours long, and this is an instance where I can confidently say it didn't even need to be over two.
Oftentimes, the film feels repetitive to the point where you could swear you're just watching the same scenes but with a slightly different context and perspective. This could work when used in doses or for individual scenes, but the whole movie is like this.
All of the performances are strong. Everyone does a solid job, particularly Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer. Ben Affleck is very good too, although he is in much more of a supporting role.
Damon and Affleck co-wrote the screenplay, along with Nicole Holofcener. The dialogue is good and the way situations play out is interesting. But it all comes down to the direction of how to tell the story. It feels like all three writers wrote a different act in the film but weren't collaborating with each other.
The production value is very good. Everything from the cinematography to the costumes, production design, editing, sound design, sound mixing, lighting, and score are very impressive. Ridley Scott does a good job of bringing this world to life.
This movie is just so weird. It's too well made to be upset about, and its ambitions are very interesting, despite being flawed. There is a truly great movie here somewhere. It has the potential to be a riveting and powerful story. But, it also needs to be told in a more engaging and efficient manner. The third act is great and exactly what I wanted out of the film, but it's a long, familiar road to get there.