|Fig. 1 'Duel' (1971)|
In truth, this lack of explanation can feel rather frustrating but in time it is silently accepted. We begin to understand that the truck is a mindless being of its own, without any logic behind its actions. In a way, this heightens the audience's ability to feel the sense of danger. There is no explanation for this truck to come after him, and there is no way to escape or reason with it. This feeling of desperation is also partly due to the fact that we never actually see the driver, again there is no one to reason with.
|Fig 2. The Truck|
However, David's character is barely developed in the story. In fact, this film doesn't really develop any of the human characters, "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). We don't have much of an attachment to these human characters, often their interactions feel odd and uncomfortable. Luckily, these scenes of socially awkward situations and unpleasant, unflattering close ups of David do not last long.
|Fig. 3 David Mann|
This, again, is never explained to the audience. It can only be assumed that David feels a renewed sense of self after we see the monstrous truck descends into a ditch, a scene that is beautifully captured in slow motion. While we expect to either see the driver after this point or have some sort of closer, we don't. Instead, Spielberg ends it abruptly to leave the audience guessing. After his absurd and harrowing experience, David Mann sits himself down in the desert on the cliff the truck fell into and credits roll.
Freer, I. (2000) Empire Essay: Duel At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/empire-essay-duel/review/ Accessed on: 3/2/2016
Maslin, J. (1983) Duel (1971) At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9804EFD81138F936A25757C0A965948260 Accessed on: 3/2/2016
Thomas, W. (2000) Duel Review At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/duel/review/ Accessed on: 3/2/2016
Figure 1. Duel [Poster] At: http://images.moviepostershop.com/duel-movie-poster-1971-1020376106.jpg Accessed on: 3/2/2016
Figure 2. The Truck [Film Still] At: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3956602142824296449#editor/target=post;postID=231674251756683574 Accessed on: 3/2/2016
Figure 3. David Mann [Film Still] At: https://quixotando.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/dennis-weaver.jpg?w=1024 Accessed on: 3/2/2016