Duel

1971

Action / Horror / Thriller

93
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.7 10 54728

Synopsis


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October 14, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Cast

Dennis Weaver as David Mann
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
698.91 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 2 / 17
1.24 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 30 min
P/S 3 / 41

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by adrian-43767 6 / 10

Innovative and claustrophobic flick that runs out of tricks

It would always have been a tough call to do a 90-minute movie on such exiguous material, both in terms of script and equipment: basically a massive tanker truck and a small car.

Given that just about the entire 90 minutes are on the road, one who knows anything about trucks knows that the menacing old jallopy of a tanker truck could never pump up to the speeds it appears to be doing in the movie. In reality, the central character, played by Dennis Weaver, should have put many miles between the two vehicles in no time, thus leaving the menace trailing in the dust and looking for opposition more its own speed and size.

If you manage to overcome that hurdle in terms of believability, you have to wonder why Weaver keeps applying brakes, veering off the road, getting all rattled, and violating all manner of safe driving rules, often upon seeing the tanker truck in the rearview mirror. And, as if that were not questionable enough, twice he runs in the hope of catching up to the dastardly truck, as if he could catch up on two legs and businessman shoes!... and what about his fear that causes him to go all nervous upon sight of the truck, does it disappear miraculously when he is away from his own car and apparently even more vulnerable?

Let me say without any hesitation that the character played by Weaver is not blessed with a high IQ. Quite the contrary, he decides to get into a phone booth standing in the middle of poisonous snakes and tarantulas while the truck is speeding up in his direction - and, needless to say, flattens the booth, snakes et all.

The script is necessarily squalid, a monologue for the most part, and not a particularly exciting one at that. Camera work deserves plaudits for making the most of bare bones and Weaver's acting is competent and relatively convincing, once you've accepted that he is not the brightest spark around.

You never get to see the truck driver, only his arm, very briefly, waving to Weaver to overtake, but he is a nasty villain obviously determined to prevent Weaver reaching his business meeting in time, to bother Weaver all he can, to place Weaver in harm's way, and, ultimately, to kill him.

And it is in this frantic and obsessive attempt to kill that you realize that the truck driver's IQ is as low as his intended victim's, or he would have stopped the truck before rolling down the hill.

Despite glaring flaws, DUEL is a much copied work and its influence can be seen in movies such as LES PASSAGERS (France, 1977, with Jean-Louis Trintignant) and BREAKDOWN (US 1997, with Kurt Russel), among others.

It also helped launch Spielberg's career as director and he, like the film, has had ups and downs in terms of quality, from the lofty heights of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, to the depths of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, among others.

6/10 for Spielberg's honorable debut at age 22, and courage in taking up such a potentially un-filmable project as DUEL.

Reviewed by coolantic 8 / 10

A B movie with an A rating

Fortunately I saw this film at the cinema and was unaware of its TV origin. It was the support movie but impressed me so much that I can't even remember what the main feature was. The only other B movie to have that effect on me is Beach Red. In the UK Dennis Weaver was only known to us as Chester from Gunsmoke, and in Duel he plays a similar meek character. His wife does not appreciate him and his boss is demanding. However, like a lot of us; in his car, he is king. Thus, when he is held up by a filthy smoke-belching truck, he is quite happy to indulge in a little alpha male posturing with the other driver and quickly overtakes. His victory is short lived since the truck driver retakes the road aggressively. From then on the situation gets out of hand rapidly. Although our man gets in front again, the truck begins to tailgate him at high speed, eventually forcing him off the road near a diner. But it's not over. After a brief rest and a mistaken confrontation with the wrong trucker, the chase is on again and the situation gets more and more terrifying. The eventual resolution should be a letdown, but it isn't. In the final showdown on the clifftop I was expecting the trucker to confound our frantic hero by saying something like he was a hit-man hired by the wife. But we never get an explanation or see the driver's face. The mighty truck simply plunges over a cliff roaring and groaning with primeval fury. And you're so breathless by this time it doesn't matter. And you've enjoyed a cracking movie!

Reviewed by julesfdelorme 9 / 10

An excellent glimpse of the film master that Spielberg was to become

I'm coming back to my Halloween theme on Horror films that don't seem, at first glance to be Horror films. I think that nothing represents this kind of movie better than Steven Spielberg's first film, Duel. A TV movie starring Dennis Weaver (Of McCloud fame), Duel was pretty much the result of a TV Network throwing Spielberg a bone for winning an award for a Night Gallery episode, or maybe just because he survived working with Joan Crawford. It was meant to be just another TV movie of the week. And it was nothing more than that in North America. But French critics, including Francois Truffault were so impressed with the movie that it was a successful theatrical release in Europe. Duel has the production value of a 70s TV Movie, but it still manages to be much more than that. First, it was preview of what Spielberg was capable of as a director. And second it is a superb monster movie. You wouldn't know it from the premise. Duel is the story of a somewhat weak willed motorist who finds himself pursued by a truck after he passes it on the highway. He doesn't even cut the truck off. And that's part of the key to this being a very good horror movie. The Antagonist operates without reason and seems to be utterly relentless. You never see the trucker. You see a hint of boots and an arm, but you never see a man. As he will do so well later in Jaws, Spielberg makes the unseen and unknown create the tension and the fear in our minds. Because we never see the trucker Weaver's character is pursued by a machine, not a human being. Even Pauline Kael gave the movie a great review. And she would go on to blame Spielberg, along with George Lucas for ruining American film. Her particular prejudice, that small films are important, and big budget films are mindless, would be echoed by far too many people, particularly when it came to Steven Spielberg. He didn't just become a great film maker when he made Schindler's List and Finding Private Ryan. Jaws is a superb film. One of the greatest horror films of all time. It put beaches out of business. And Duel, despite being intended as a cheap TV movie, is far better than it might seem on the surface. What Spielberg was able to do with so little is an indication of how great a director he was even then. It's a creepy, nerve wrenching monster movie that draws you in to its odd premise scene by scene. It's original and it's so much better than it was meant to be. It's well worth the watch, especially just before Halloween. If you haven't seen Duel, I would highly recommend it. Even if you watch it just as a curiosity, just as Spielberg's earliest work, I think you'll be surprised at how much of the film mastery that we would see in Spielberg's later work already present in Duel. And you may not want to drive on a lonely highway for a little while after that.

#movies #film #filmcritique #horrorfilm #duel #stevenspielberg

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