The thing that bothered me is the use of the voice-over. It's completely misused in this movie. Whenever the tension was dominant, the voice-over interrupted this tension. And if this terrible voice-over has been used at more stable times, it was very dull and monotonous.
Dennis Weaver gave a superb performance. I didn't know he's such a great actor.
Also, this movie maybe is the most beautiful-looking B-Movie ever! It really has a gorgeous cinematography that could be equal to many big-budget movies.
Some guy is driving in a waste land-like area. Dusts, roads a few gas stations and cafes, but that's about it. He passes a truck, but soon after the truck passes him. This gets repeated some times before the truckdriver acts it out harder. He presses him off of the road, he plays with the smaller car - he terrorize him. This is basicly it. It goes on for most of the playtime, with neat pitstops along the way. I dig the psychological aspect of it - the increasing fear, the paranoia. The way the truck - the grimmest, spookiest, most mysterious truck I have seen by the way - is hunting it's pray like a shark as it hunts the Plymouth Valiant repeatedly.
The shots and music and sound is great and the acting is also good. The minimalistic plot and storyline is impressively haunting as it grips the viewer and forcing you to think "what's coming next?" I felt it was original, even if this can be considered a mix of films like "The Hitcher", "Mad Max", " Jeepers Creepers", "Minimum Overdrive" and "Trucks". Naturally this was the first feature of the mentioned films, so that make sense I guess. I did find the title quite poor, though, even if alternatives easily could end up as spoilers or something very cheezy.
A superb thriller, sadly often let out among Spielberg's greatest.
8 out of 10 back mirrors.
What originally drew me to view Duel was that it is the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg from 1971.
I was not left disappointed. Duel ranks as the best TVM/limited cinema release I have ever seen. Made some 4 years before Jaws, Spielberg's breakthrough movie that defined the summer blockbuster film you can see elements of his film making genius in this production.
It basically follows some middle class businessman driving along a long US highway being terrorised by a diesel truck.
At the start of the film the driver (Dennis Weaver) has some gleaming 1970s gas guzzler but by the end it is a wreck and so is his psychological well being!
The diesel truck or tanker is a dark beast that speeds, rams and chases the car with a sadistic 'Mad Max' like streak. The driver is never observed hiding behind darkened glass.
Duel is a beast of a road movie. I used to think the tanker chase at the end of Licence To Kill was impressive but this goes on for nearly ninety minutes. A nonstop tirade of driving stunts, the breaking of a respectable businessman you are lead to believe.
The production was made on a tiny budget but that it looks far more impressive. All this year's before CGI blighted cinema.
I deplore everyone who has found Spielberg's later work entertaining to check this out. You will be pleasantly surprised.