Ridley Scott is a little miffed that no one saw The Last Duel, his movie about a 14th century French duel and facial hair that stars and was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The legendary filmmaker went on WTF with Marc Maron this week to talk about the banner year he’s having (House of Gucci hits theaters Wednesday), and told the comedian the reason he thinks that his Rashomon-style film about a sexual assault didn’t break the box office.
“I think what it boils down to — what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cell phones,” Scott told the podcast host. “The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything unless you told it on the cell phone.”
As always, the question I now have is, “Where do I fit into this narrative?” The answer is that I am apparently the only “millennian” (technically on the Gen Z cusp) who saw The Last Duel. And you know what I have to say about why the movie wasn’t a smash? It’s because they didn’t get it.
You heard it here folks, The Last Duel rocks, and perhaps in another year it would be grossing $100 million (instead of $27 million off of a $100 million budget, oof) and racking up Oscars. That year, of course, is probably 1995 (the one in which I, a millennian, was born). That was one of the last times when a sweeping, two-and-a-half hour, mildly anachronistic epic movie about France could really grip the nation.
I agree with Scott that he made an incredible movie that more people should have seen. But I quibble with the idea that there should have been more people like me in the audience. Although that would have been nice, I think Scott should be picking this bone with the one true demographic for this movie: fathers of teen daughters.
The Last Duel, which is about defending a woman’s honor after a rape, is the perfect movie for dads to drag their daughters to, become palpably uncomfortable with the subject matter, and then leave the theater saying, “Ya know what, I really liked that.” The daughters, for the most part, will remain iffy on the whole experience, but a strong minority of them will adore it and hopefully ask themselves, “Who is this Nicole Holofcener?”
If Scott wants to talk about why the movie didn’t do well, do not look to me, the millennian who loves both her phone and The Last Duel. Look to the dads who didn’t turn out. Don’t worry though. They’ll find it, and they’ll all love it when they watch it in a four-hour block on TNT in 2023.