For any artist, it’s never a good feeling to have your work do poorly. No one is safe from that, not even legendary filmmakers like Ridley Scott. His latest film, The Last Duel, came and went at the box office with very little fanfare.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Scott opened up about the box office performance of The Last Duel and offered up his feelings on film critics.
“It was exceedingly disappointing. The fatal thing is when you think you’ve got it; you haven’t – I thought I’d got it on Blade Runner, and I hadn’t! I was crucified by a big critic at the time called Pauline Kael. It’s why I never read critiques, ever. You have to be your own decider – if you worry about what the audience is thinking and what they may want, that’s fatal. A good film will find itself, and now Blade Runner is in the Library of Congress.”
For those who aren’t familiar, 1982’s Blade Runner was a commercial failure during its original run. Critics at the time were also split, with the famed critic Pauline Kael praising the sci-fi vision but criticizing the film’s lack of development in “human terms.” But as Scott correctly states, Blade Runner would go on to find an audience years later and has grown to be one of the most impactful sci-fi films of the time.
Could Scott’s second film of the year, House of Gucci, play for a bigger audience? The potential awards contender has a bit more of an accessible feeling than the period-drama The Last Duel and could be boosted by including fan favorites like Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. We shall see when House of Gucci opens on November 24th 2021.
The historical epic is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores the ubiquitous power of men, the frailty of justice and the strength and courage of one woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. Based on actual events, the film unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Carrouges is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Le Gris is a Norman squire whose intelligence and eloquence make him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite, is viciously assaulted by Le Gris, a charge he denies, she refuses to stay silent, stepping forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a grueling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.
The Last Duel stars Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, Harriet Walter, Nathaniel Parker, Sam Hazeldine, Michael McElhatton, Alex Lawther, and Marton Csokas.