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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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.
The brilliant idea of Duel is to have matched not two men nor two vehicles but a man and a truck. The sole weak point of the screenplay is in my opinion the reason why Dennis Weaver doesn' just give up the duel and come back home : a business rendez-vous. But, all in all, recommended.
Very very cool. Great tension and pacing throughout. I remember finding this on VHS and knowing that i was the only one on my block who knew about this early Spielberg treat. The director himself says that he constantly looks back at it to remind himself, how to make a film simply but well.
Great start for Spielberg, making an exhausting hitchcockian/Kafka-esque thriller with a great performance by Dennis Weaver, bringing to life the fear in crescendo for a faceless and merciless truck driver whose only goal is to end the common man's journey at any cost.
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.