A man is continually chased on the highway
by a psychotic truck driver in a large rig.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Richard Matheson
Starring Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone,
Lou Frizzell, Gene Dynarski, Lucille Benson, Tim Herbert
Based on the short story by Richard Matheson
Duel is a thrilling film that teaches you the consequences of road rage. It's the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg, and you can see camera angles and other technical tricks he would later apply to such films as Jaws, Jurassic Park, and E.T. He took what could have been a mediocre TV movie from the 70's and turned it into a cult hit that launched his career and made every viewer a little wary of trucks on the highway.
The film is told through the eyes of David Mann (Dennis Weaver), a business commuter who makes the mistake of passing an old, beat-up big rig. This causes the driver of said big rig to target Mann for extermination, as he chases him and tries to run him off the road for the remainder of the film. The most intriguing thing about the film is that you never see the driver's face. This helps us visualize the villain of the film as not the driver, but the truck itself. It could also imply some sort of supernatural force, but that's for another time.
I think Duel is a great movie that relishes in its simplicity but is also quite exciting. The truck is terrifying and its dedication to pursuing Mann is equally terrifying. After watching this film, it's easy to see why Spielberg became the legendary filmmaker he is today. He's always been a fantastic storyteller and his adaptation of Richard Matheson's thrilling story was a great place to start.