No false advertising here: Alexey Mizgirev’s historical epic, “The Duelist,” follows a professional duelist in 19th century Czarist Russia, a period of time that was punctuated by some of society’s most well-to-do families settling things literally the old-fashioned way, by employing professional fighters to face off in regulated duels. That’s one way to settle a disagreement. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
As the film’s official synopsis makes clear, “there was a strict code of behavior applied to the practice of duelling; one rule was that a substitute was allowed, another was that nobles would fight only fellow nobles.” Both of those code items become very, very important in the film.
Can you guess where this is going?
The film follows Yakolev (Pyotr Fyodorov), a retired army officer and professional duelist, who returns to St. Petersburg after a long absence (mysterious). Yakolev is notoriously good at his job, and while he initially cuts quite a swath through the city’s ritziest families — the ones most in need of a guy with a gun! — his heart is changed when he encounters young Prince Tuchov and his beautiful sister, Princess Martha.
What happens when a duelist can no longer do his job? Get a taste of that very question in our exclusive clip below.
“The Duelist” premiered early this year at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film was fully shot in IMAX, making it only the third Russian production to do so.
“The Duelist” is in limited theaters starting today, Friday, December 2.