The Last Duel tells the story of a knight (Matt Damon), his squire (Adam Driver), and their titular duel, the last fully-legal clash of its kind, which was meant to determine whether the squire raped the knight’s wife (Jodie Comer). The first trailer dropped today, and it looks like director Ridley Scott has delivered a moody and violent good time.
But allow us to take a moment to address a vital, if more superficial, element of the trailer that cannot be ignored: the hair, because it is all-around remarkable.
As Jacques Le Gris, Driver is wearing a version of his usual scruffy look gone fully Medieval Times: goatee, mustache, and a head of flowing tresses grazing his shoulders.
Much more startling is seeing Matt Damon with a big goatee, blonde hair, and some very tiny bangs. The bangs themselves are not unfamiliar—they are the same ones worn by Depop models the world over, and also by Anya Taylor-Joy. But here, on Jason Bourne? This is new.
Before long, another A-lister appears in nearly unrecognizable grooming: none other than Ben Affleck, as Count Pierre d’Alençon. His situation up top is not unlike Damon’s, but much shorter, and also much more platinum. (The movie is—alongside Enough Said‘s Nicole Holofcener—the first writing job Affleck and Damon have collaborated on since 1997’s Good Will Hunting.)
Like any good trailer, it left us with more questions than answers: Did the squire do it? Who won the duel? And were 14th-century knights really running around looking like Bushwick art handlers and hard-partying country musicians? According to Rachael Gibson, a historical hair expert who maintains the Instagram account The Hair Historian, yes. “Fringes were incredibly widespread for men across the board in the 14th century,” she told me over e-mail. Apparently Lord Farquaad is a textbook example. Along those lines, Damon’s “medieval mullet,” as she called it, is spot on.
Driver’s flowing waves check out, too—men often used primitive styling tools to create texture, resulting in a sort of mass long bob style that became uniform across professions. Even Affleck’s dye job, though perhaps a shade too brassy and chemical for the pre-platinum days, isn’t far off base: Gibson says hair colorants have been used throughout pretty much all of human history.
The biggest thing that typically distinguishes weird medieval hair from weird modern hair, Gibson points out, is the homogeny: since the Catholic Church governed which hairstyles were appropriate, people throughout Europe tended to toe the line. Somehow, though, men still managed to get a little freaky—at least in the world of The Last Duel.