The Duel full movie review - A versatile plot carried well by two renowned actors.
(The only spoiler in this review is in the fourth paragraph) The Duel is a low budget western starring two big actors. I personally really enjoyed the movie.
I felt at the beginning it was very slow paced, and this may be the case for the majority of the film. However this slow pace is necessary for the plot building at the start, which evolves into tension filled scenes that have a great action filled release.
With the revival of western movies recently, I feel there are some high expectations and people want the same thrilling response to the movies of this genre that used to be achieved in the golden age of western movies upheld by John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. I feel these expectations are what prevents people from enjoying simple enjoyable movies like The Duel.
The movies plot is a very common one of protagonist vs antagonist, you can see this from the movie poster. However the story behind this plot, and witnessing the relationship between the two key characters evolve in this movie is full of tension, suspense and mystery. Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson both deliver convincing performances and accents. Woody Harrelson's character in particular is a villain which the movies mystery revolves around.
(spoiler in this paragraph)Although the movie is not without its flaws. The movie is successful in achieving mystery, however, Woody Harrelson's character, 'The Preacher', is the component of the story from which a lot of the mystery and suspense is resourced from. There are rumors surrounding him one of which is that "He is touched by God". His divine powers are never really evident except when he knows the protagonists true identity, and his interaction with 'Marisol' (the protagonists wife). I don't know if he knew David's (the protagonist) identity the whole time. I can't tell if he is the reason for Marisol's fever, why he is so interested in her, why she ends up turning on her husband and what happens to her when David leaves. At the end is she the preachers new wife? And why was she so allured to the preacher after he first visited her, does that weird symbol he painted on his eye have something to do with it or did he seduce her?. It's just that there is no clear cause for these events and no clear answer to the end result. You don't know if The Preacher has powers, or if he just brainwashes the town and the cult he leads into believing it. It is one small aspect that I just have too much curiosity towards, and it spoiled the movie on me slightly. The only other curiosity I have is the ending; David goes off into the brush and isolation and no one knows why.
(spoilers over) Other than the issues I addressed above, I really enjoyed the movie and was really engaged throughout. I feel that's the key with this movie, if you can stay attentive and pick up on the small details throughout, the action filled ending is a larger pay off and a more satisfying release of tension. I wouldn't say this is a movie I loved so much that I really want to see it a second time, but it is definitely worth the watch. Although if you don't like slow building plots and get bored easily in movies, this one may not be engaging enough, but if you like western movies, action (pretty violent), and suspense, then I think you will definitely enjoy The Duel.