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. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Mann first enters the service station in Acton, his car is covered in shadow, indicating the sun is below the building to the right of his car. In the next shot the sun appears overhead as his car is covered in sunlight. See more »
[radio playing, driving down the road, approaches the truck]
[David coughs, coughs again]
Talk about pollution.
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A scene plays out over the credits where David Mann sits on the edge of the cliff throwing stones. See more »
Gleefully sadistic little thriller. Though the young Mr. Spielberg's hand is evident in many places (the economic storytelling style, the visual wit), the film's tone probably owes more to screenwriter (and 'Twilight Zone' veteran) Richard Matheson. The story has all the itchy paranoia of Matheson's best work, with Dennis Weaver's fussy little city man confronted by Tex-Mex suspicion at best, and relentless, illogical horror at worst, as he travels from one oasis of civilization to another for an important meeting. 'Duel' is essentially a city-slicker's nightmare, concentrating collective fears of wilderness and the mad souls who choose to dwell there. But at the same time it lightly satirizes those urbanite attitudes, and Weaver's Mann is often made to look laughable, with his silly necktie, and his little Plymouth Valiant, and his prissy, civilized approach to his problem. Spielberg revels in the black comic elements of Matheson's narrative, and the result is the perfect suspense/thriller tone--one never knows whether to laugh or scream. If the story lags a bit towards the end, and if the conclusion is rather a simple one, the film is still a model of economy and tone, and it features one of the most memorable villains in suspense-film history--one that weighs forty tons. 9 out of 10.
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