As Napoleon rises to power in France, two soldiers become mortal enemies and duel over 16 years. Why? In a post-modern twist, the exact reason is not known, to either one. Keitel's Feraud is an enigmatic savage. Seductively mad, he represents our base instincts. Carradine as honorable Armand is the thinking man; a prisoner of society. THE DUELLISTS captures their bizarre rivalry with thundering, overwhelming beauty.
The cinematography is magnificent. The story and premise are really good but further development should have been made to some characters, especially Keitel's character (but maybe it is the point). But it really is a minor detail about it. Overall, it is a fantastic, fascinating and marvelous looking debut film from Ridley Scott.
For all its beautiful photography, impeccable costumes, etc., this is a pretty straightforward tale of manly enmity. The unlikelihood of the duels approaches absurdity but never becomes laughable. The most striking characterisitc of all these encounters is the sound of the swords. It's so loud it drowns out the ragged breathing of the combatants. Does a great job emphasizing the enigmatic nature of their rivalry.
I have an inordinate and probably over inflated love of this film having seen it innumerable times since being a teenager. It now feels like an old friend to be watched as a treat on high days and holidays. Always highly engaging even when you can mouth the script in advance; and Diana Quick is so beautiful it really shouldn't be allowed. That struck me as a teenage boy too.
Never had seen it before. Ridley Scott's first feature film won the award for Best Directorial Debut at Cannes 1978. It's an amazing debut, with a powerful drama of two men consumed by an obsession with honour, sacrificing their personal lives, for about 16 years. From the astonishing cinematography to the great performances from Harvey Keitel, but especially from Keith Carradine. One of Scott's best no doubt!
The visual style, colours, camerawork and some scenes are stunning. Acting is very solid too, great attention to details when it comes to things like costumes etc. While the film is quite moody and dramatic at times, which is really good, unfortunately there seems to be little behind that, two men duelling through the years (yes!). Impressive technically, but I found little "substance" here, unfortunately...