Duel (film di Steven Spielberg del 1971)

DUEL è un film del 1971. diretto dal 24enne Steven Spielberg. che mette in scena l’odissea vissuta dal tranquillo commesso viaggiatore David Mann, interpretato da Dennis Weaver, che in una normale giornata di lavoro si imbatte in una vecchia e lenta autocisterna che emana fumo dal tubo di scappamento. Mann la supera, ma l’autista del mastodontico mezzo, mostrandosi inviperito da tale gesto, gli si incolla dietro dando il là ad una persecuzione che pare possa aver fine solo con la morte di uno o entrambi i conducenti.

Emblematica la scena in cui il protagonista fatta una pausa pranzo in una tavola calda crede di aver riconosciuto il suo persecutore prendendo un abbaglio e scatenando un’involontaria rissa con l’incolpevole dirimpettaio. Ripartito, cercherà invano di contattare la polizia ma lo squilibrato cercherà di massacrarlo investendo la cabina telefonica da cui chiamava soccorso, riesce a scampare per il rotto della cuffia ma l’incubo continuerà in un inseguimento nel quale subirà la rottura del radiatore che gli farà perdere velocità. Allora, in un disperato tentativo di sopravvivenza, compie un’inversione a U e punta la sua auto verso lo squilibrato. Lanciatosi a velocità su di lui, salta fuori dalla macchina prima della devastante esplosione che pone fine all’incubo.

Girato in 13 giorni come film per la televisione, grazie al grande successo ottenuto fu portato da 74′ a 90′ per il grande schermo. Gran parte delle sequenze presentano solo il protagonista (il guidatore dell’autocisterna non si vede mai) arricchite dall’efficacia delle inquadrature e dalla bravura di Weaver. Nella sequenza dell’allevatrice di serpenti si vede Spielberg riflesso nel vetro.

Il giovane regista, dopo l’affermazione di DUEL, girerà LO SQUALO nel 1975, film che diverrà il più grande incasso cinematografico di tutti i tempi fino al 1977, quando verrà scalzato da GUERRE STELLARI.

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