mdtinney's Movie Review of Duel (1971)

Rating of

Duel (1971)

A classic Made For Tv movie that stands out!
mdtinney - wrote on 09/22/09

This film is a highly original piece of work. If it was made today it would not work as well, but back in the early seventies nobody had heard of road rage. It is a simple film that contains sparse dialogue. The most fascinating, but frustrating, thing about the film is the truck driver's anonymity. I have seen it countless times and played it back in slow motion freeze-frame and all we get to see besides his cowboy boots is a light-coloured shirt and a pixie-like silhouette at the beginning. When David Mann passes, sometimes it seems as though the truck is driving itself. Actually, the stuntman Carey Loftin who drove the truck almost died at the end - just escaping as the truck went over the cliff. Notice the door wide open. But the film is very cleverly shot. There are views from almost every angle of the truck as it hurtles down the road and you can also clearly see Spielberg in the rear view mirror of the car in the backseat, helping Weaver through some scenes towards the end of the film. But the truck itself is the real star, with its split windscreen and dirty, rusty exterior bellowing out the smoke. It is so malevolent and menacing. The mark of a great film is being able to view it over and over again and not get bored, and you can watch Duel so many times and still want to see it again. A veritable cult classic.
And in my opinion, maybe the best Spielberg work ever.

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