Ridley Scott is one of the most revered directors in the movie business today. To his credit, Scott has directed numerous hits including Bladerunner, Alien, Gladiator and many others. While the aforementioned flicks have done more than their share in making him one of Hollywood’s head names, it was this far lesser known movie that gave Scott his real start behind the camera on the big screen. It goes without saying that The Duellists is very much a niche film. As much as it’s a niche film though, it’s a movie that could so easily generate quite a bit of discussion. What makes it so worthy of discussion is its story.
The crux of The Duellists’ story centers on two men who let a single misunderstanding become the fuel for an ongoing feud that gets rather violent to say the least. And it’s set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic era France. On the surface, that’s all that this story is. But on a deeper level, one could argue that it serves as an allegory of sorts about pride and human emotion. A simple misunderstanding between D’Hubert (Keith Carradine) and Feraud (Harvey Keitel) lead to the pair’s ongoing feud. While the story does start off a little bit slow, once it gets going, it has no trouble keeping its audiences’ attention. What audiences get once they’re pulled in is two men who are increasingly wrapped up in the anger directed at the other. The real reward to the near two-hour story is its surprise twist ending. The ending won’t be given away here. But it should be noted that the ending is a fitting closer to the story, offering total closure and an important moral to add to the discussions raised by the story.
It goes without saying that The Duellists is not a movie that will hit home with just one watch. That’s not an entirely bad thing, though. It’s really one of those stories that will grow on audiences more with each viewing. It’s sort of like the old adage says, once you’re at the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. In the case of The Duellists, there’s nowhere to go but up. That’s thanks in large part to the story. What helps to really make that the case isn’t so much just the story, but one of the bonus features included in the brand new Blu-ray re-issue of this must see movie and its companion commentary. The new Blu-ray re-issue includes a bonus feature titled, “Duelling Directors: Ridley Scott and Kevin Reynolds Featurette” that is just as informative as the bonus audio commentary by Ridley Scott included with the movie. Both the commentary and this bonus feature go a long way toward helping audiences understand everything that went into bringing this story to life. Audiences will in turn have more appreciation for the movie with each viewing. The new Blu-ray re-issue will be available Tuesday, January 29th in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/215688.