Sunday, 7 February 2016

Steven Spielberg's, Duel, 1971 Review

Fig 1 - Duel Movie Poster

Duel, Directed by Steven Spielberg, is an action thriller made in 1971 with the story being centred around a man being tormented and hunted by a mysterious truck driver.

As far as the story goes it's pretty simple. A business man on his way to what is presumed as an interview located what looks to be a state away from where he started, is being hunted and tormented by a lone faceless truck driver. what seems to be petty rivalry between the two of who gets to be in front on the road soon turns to Mr Mann (Dennis Weaver) fighting for his life as this truck continues to force him off the roads and most likely not to come back on them.

Fig 2 - A game of Cat and Mouse

Many people would say that it is hard and impossible to direct a movie that is centred around a single man with no other important characters to go through the movie with him, which is exactly what this movie disapproves. Spielberg was able to show a movie of man facing off against vehicles/Technology, a movie that if it was made now in our time would probably have the main character joined by meaningless characters through out the movie. Since many reviewers have theorised and assumed that the Mr Mann is fighting for his masculinity and his right as a man of his household which has been stated in the movie itself, you can see why he has to go through this event on his own.

This movie can be seen as Spielberg's intro into the movie district with this being his draft for his upcoming Jaws movie, with similarities between the two movies like the truck being a representation of Jaws itself and the openness of the highway that the movie is set in could be see as the endless ocean. This reviewer  can concur with this statement:

The film's rusted, growling tanker truck is an obvious predecessor to the man-eating Great White of Jaws. And it's every bit as terrifying. - Rob Humanick, Projection Booth.

Fig 3 - The Truck could be seen as Jaws hunting its prey

There was times in the movie where it seemed that the truck could be his imagination but that was proved false when other people could see the truck as well, but throughout the movie it kind of makes you wonder if the truck is a being of its own, showing superiority on the roads by bullying or knocking off this lesser being. You kind of see this in the scene where the truck is pulling its horn for the train where the train horns back and also blocking the cars path while the truck tried to push the car into the train, also in the scene where the truck was able to move the bus when the lesser car was unable to. It kind off shows that the bigger vehicles rule these roads and punish the lesser vehicles. 

Fig 4 - Train helping Truck?
Fig 5 - Truck horns at train. Thanking it for its help?

The thing that would really catch future directors or just well seeing audience members is how Spielberg set out placing the cameras in this movie. There was the occasional camera pans and zoom ins as well as far out shots when Mr Mann was outside his car, but it's when he is in his car the cameras start to take an interesting turn. At the start of the movie the camera was at the front of the car looking in the direction it was going in, so the camera theoretically became the car for that period of time and through out the movie the camera kept switching to different parts of the car to the back of it looking behind to even being the radio antenna on the side of it looking forward. No matter where the camera was on the car to being outside or in, it always showed the audience what kind of scene it was, to it being a relaxing ride to being an intense chase.

Fig 6 - Camera placed to see side mirror.
Fig 7 - Camera placed at on back mirror.
Fig 8 - Camera placed as a Antenna.
Fig 9 - Camera placed on back of car
Fig 10 - Camera placed at back low angle
Fig 11 - Camera placed on side of truck.
But in the end, like all movies that are Man VS something. Man always wins.

Fig 12 - Mann tricks Truck into pushing empty car over the edge of a cliff.

Fig 13 - The corpse of the Truck at the bottom of the cliff.
Fig 14 - Mr Mann, Victorious and now car less and stranded.

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Rob Humanick, Projection Booth, July 20th 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben,

    Don't forget that you should be including at least 3 quotes to support your own ideas, and these need to be referenced using the Harvard method, details which can be found here -
    You also need to check how your illustrations list should be compiled; again, details can be found in the referencing guide.