Matt Damon And Ben Affleck’s Most Overlooked Film Is On Streaming
Matt Damn and Ben Affleck wrote and star in Ridley Scott's medieval film, The Last Duel, now one of HBO Max's most watched films.
More than twenty years after their breakout collaborative effort Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck joined forces to write 2021’s The Last Duel. The film is directed by Hollywood legend Ridley Scott, and stars Adam Driver as a medieval French squire, who must battle his knight to the death following a highly disturbing accusation. The film was released in the year 2021, during a highly uncertain and tumultuous time for movie releases, leading to the lowest box office numbers of Ridley Scott‘s career, and is now available to stream on HBO Max.
Matt Damon takes the starring role in the film alongside Adam Driver, with Ben Affleck serving in a supporting role. The film is a historical drama set in 14th century France, and adapts the 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France which is based on a true story. Filming took place in France and Ireland but was interrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which also likely caused poor returns at the box office.
The film tells the tale of one of France’s final trials by combat, which sees Matt Damon’s Sir Jean de Carrouges facing off against Adam Driver’s Jacques Le Gris, after Ben Affleck’s Pierre d’Alencon informs the latter that he is being tried in court for the violent sexual assault of Carrouges’ wife. The film is masterfully told through three distinct chapters, in which the assault in question is presented from the perspective of each of the three main characters, leaving audiences unsure of the truth. The Last Duel functions as a haunting allegory for both false accusations of sexual assault, as well as the vile mistreatment of women who come forward with assault stories and are not believed, depending on how you view the events of the film.
Despite underperforming financially, failing to even make back its own budget, The Last Duel is widely regarded as one of the better films of 2021, with many critics likening the film to the work of iconic filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Being the first film Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote together since 1997’s cult classic Good Will Hunting, many people were certain that the film would be a huge hit, particularly with all the additional star power provided by Ridley Scott, Adam Driver, and Andor‘s Alex Lawther.
Ridley Scott publicly expressed frustration with the films poor reception, specifically citing young people too buried in their cell phones to get outside and see a movie. Matt Damon remained largely quiet on the film’s box office numbers, though Ben Affleck has been quoted as saying he wished the film had gone straight to streaming, as the audience would have found and enjoyed it there, seeing movie theaters as too dangerous for most audiences to return to during the bulk of 2021. This assessment turned out to be fairly accurate, as The Last Duel quickly became the second most watched film on HBO Max last month when it first hit the streamer.