Monday, 1 May 2017

"Duel" (1971)

Fig. 1 "Duel" Poster

The "Duel" is a thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. This film is about David Mann, a man who went on a car trip. However, this peaceful trip ends up being mixed up with fear. As an unseen driver in a mysterious tanker truck starts to chase him with intends to kill him. As Milne states: "There are no explanations and no motivations, except perhaps for a hint of allegory in the script (the motorist's name is Mann) and an intriguing visual suggestion that this is the old, old battle between the shining, prancing, vulnerable knight and the impervious, lumbering dragon." (Milne, 2006)

The film itself is made to be watched for men, as is represents man’s dignity. “Duel” leaves a lot of unanswered questions, like: “why is the truck driver tries to kill him”, however the film itself has very simplistic plot. Which doesn’t confuse the viewer.
Fig. 2 The Truck

The main character David, seems like a simple businessman. Dressed up with clean formal clothes. It displays that the main character would do no harm to anybody. However, in this film, there is an antagonist with his truck. Yet the viewer never sees his face and is left wondering how come we don’t see the antagonist face. "...the truck driver in Duel remains inscrutable, his face always obscured — the most Mann ever sees of the driver is his boot and his forearm. This sudden violence makes no sense, it's a nightmare of helplessness, as inexplicable as it is terrifying." (Only The Cinema, 2011) It’s because the main characters are cars and how they look like. As Janet Maslin explains:"the vehicles are the real stars of 'Duel', and whenever the chase is interrupted by the relatively primitive people on hand...the film loses its momentum and becomes somewhat clumsy," (Maslin, 1983). The Dennis red 70s car, is the simple car for business or trip travelling. On the other hand, the antagonist has a truck, which is covered all in dirt, also releasing a lot of toxic car smoke. (Fig 2) In other words, cars represent the male ego/dignity.

Moreover, the director puts both characters on the road, also in some wasteland, where you can't find any people or get any help. Even though the area is huge, the main character is isolated to be on the road. “Duel” comes to a chasing thriller series. The audience only gets to rest for a while, then David is a gas station or when the truck mysteriously disappears for a while.

Nevertheless, what makes this movie great is the camera movements. The camera itself is locked in the car and rapidly changes passing around the car. (Fig. 3)Sometimes the camera is inside the car showing the car mirror that shows Davids reflection in it.(Fig. 4 ) Displaying how nervous and stressed-out he is while trying to escape from the truck. As someone explained: "...Spielberg's low angles and uncomfortable closeups of the truck's rusty grille and thick, rotted fenders already suggest something sinister." (Only The Cinema, 2011)

 All in all, "Duel" is an exciting thriller film which brings new meaning to the road race. The film really takes audiences to an extreme road trip from the very start of it till the end.

Maslin, J. (1983) Duel (1971) At:  (Accessed on 01/05/2017)
Milne, T. (2006).  (Accessed on 01/05/2017)
Only The Cinema (2011) Duel. At:  (Accessed on 01/05/2017)
Illustration List:
Fig. 1 "Duel" Poster At: (Accessed on 01/05/2017)
Fig. 2 The Truck [film still] At:
Fig. 3 [film still] At: (Accessed on 01/05/2017)
Fig. 4 Davids Reflection At: (Accessed on 01/05/2017)

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