At an exotic estate with a splendid garden, a topless woman, subtly wearing Chanel No. 5, is sunbathing by an outdoor swimming pool. From the opposite side, an athletic man dives and swims towards her. Or is he just a fantasy?
Set during the grand, sweeping Napoleonic age, an officer in the French army insults another officer and sets off a life-long enmity. The two officers, D'Hubert and Feraud, cross swords time and time again in an attempt to achieve justice and preserve their honor.Written by
Greg Bole <email@example.com>
Iron Maiden's song "The Duellists" from the album "Powerslave" is a song inspired by this movie. See more »
At the start all the soldiers wear side plaits in their hair. When Laura writes "Goodbye" on D'Hubert's sword, he walks in with no plaits. He then fights a duel with plaits and visits the general with plaits. In the next scene we hear "military fashions have changed" and everyone is without plaits. See more »
The duellist demands satisfaction. Honour, for him, is an appetite. This story is about an eccentric kind of hunger. It is a true story and begins in the year that Napoleon Bonaparte became ruler of France.
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Opening credits prologue: STRASBOURG 1800 See more »
How good this is caught me totally off guard, with 'Alien' and 'Bladerunner' I knew that Ridley Scott could turn out a good movie, but to do great sci-fi and then go on to a dueling duo in the times of the Napoleon wars is truly something.
Because of an insult Feraud cant seem to duel back his honor easily from D'Hubert and the obsession with which he keeps the feud alive has the determination of a true madman. D'Hubert has second thoughts all the time, but keeps bumping into Feraud a number of times during the passing of the Napoleon wars as they both serve in the army and for the sake of his honour he cant very well refuse to duel with him. Feraud on the other hand is ice cold and after revenge for something so small and silly that he probably has forgot.
Harvey Keitel fits perfectly as Feraud and together with his role in 'Bad Lieutenant' makes him a brilliant actor. Keith Carradine plays D'Hubert very convincing as well. To set them up against each other was a good idea.
Something that is often lost in bigger scale fight scenes is the tension and dynamics that is excellently brought forth here. From the stances and four - five - six powerful strikes afterwards one of them are potentially dead. In fact I don't know of fight scenes with as much power as seen here, though 'Gladiator' comes close. For pure action Ridley Scott is a master.
Without having read the book by Joseph Conrad it can truly be said that the script is a successful adaptation of it, one of many similar traits with 'Barry Lyndon'.
The outdoor scenes are so fresh that you feel the morning mist on your breath and the compositions has some sense of the art of the time, the sense that is also present when a stilleben of bread and wine is framed. Also similar to 'Barry Lyndon' is the fine use of the zoom lens. How this could be a debut is beyond me, but the other Scott, namely Tony also made a damn fine debut with 'The Hunger'. Too bad he couldn't follow up as Ridley did.
Flutes and violins add up to a perfect score.
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