While traveling through the desert for an appointment with a client, the businessman David Mann from California passes a slow and old tanker truck. The psychotic truck driver feels offended and chases David along the empty highway trying to kill him.
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A gigantic "working class" type of vehicle vs. a deluxe middle-class car. A class conflict alongside a road across the United States? perhaps! the Dennis Weaver character reaches a certain level of conscience, thanks to the grace of this unplanned threat. He learns that there's "a spectre haunting" the road; so here's the way out... get rid of your shiny car, save yourself and "Walk" the road as a free man.
An impressive and exciting technical exercise, but I usually prefer those to be in the form of short films. I also bristle at the film's take on masculinity. Still, Spielberg brings some crafty and thoughtful touches to this (such as the personification of the evil truck) that become recognizable in his later films.