End Of The Week Shorts #9 extract: Duel (1971)
Well directed by Spielberg - though, that's certainly not a surprise - Duel is an exercise in capturing the most energy and excitement from a basic plot through cinematic language. And in regard to the direction, Duel is a somewhat successful experiment. However, the screenplay is not so great.
The premise is too simple and the story stretched too far. In fact, Duel is one of the most infuriating films I've seen in a long while, one that attempts to create suspense, but only manages to bloat out the simple story with dumb character decisions, artificial plot beats and ambiguous nonsense. This is somewhat justified as Duel is seemingly supposed o be a commentary on apprehension, fear, confrontation and "Manning" up (and I'm sure the pun is to be intended). But, I didn't enjoy this movie at all; I could appreciate its formal design (the camera work, cinematography and editing) but was never invested in the story - certainly not the characters.