Warning: this article touches on subject matter that some readers may find distressing
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was a huge success, if a very fictionalised account of ancient Rome – but his next historical epic looks to stick very closely to a true story.
Despite taking place in the fourteenth century, The Last Duel tells the surprisingly timely story of a rape case, the judicial proceedings that follow and the treatment of victims that speak out.
The film is based on The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France, a non-fiction book by medieval literature specialist Eric Yager that recounts the story of how the case led to the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history.
Beware of possible spoilers for the film below – particularly on the outcome of the titular duel.
The film – co-written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck – takes place around halfway through the Hundred Years War, a series of conflicts between England and France over claims to the French crown. French knight Jean de Carrouges (played by Matt Damon in the film) took part in several campaigns against the English in the Fourteenth Century, in locations such as Scotland and Normandy.
In 1380 Carrouges married Marguerite de Thibouville (Jodie Comer), daughter of the controversial known traitor Robert de Thibouville who had sided against multiple French Kings in territorial disputes. It seems Carrouges wished to use his father-in-law’s claim to win back a valuable estate that was given to a man who would become very important later on – Jacques Le Gris (portrayed by Adam Driver).
However, Le Gris was a favourite of property owner Count Pierre d’Alençon, who dismissed Carrouges’s lawsuit. Carrouges, therefore, lost favour in the court while Le Gris became wealthy and popular while developing a womanising reputation, but nonetheless the two eventually reconnected and put an end to their feud – with Carrouges even introducing Le Gris to his wife Marguerite.
Read more at the source.