Liam Hemsworth plays a Texas Ranger in this Western, The Duel, where Spiritual Cult leader Woody Harrelson controls the town. The Texas Ranger rides into a town under false pretenses and accepts a position as town sheriff from the Preacher, who is also operating under false pretenses. The Texas Ranger is meant to be investigating the dead Mexicans that have been found along the river, but he also knows the Preacher from a long time ago -when the Preacher killed his father in a duel.
It’s slow and manipulative but the slow lends it’s self to the sudden bouts of violence that pepper the film from fairly early on, gaining in intensity. It reminds me of some of the older westerns in places, particularly with the pacing of the actors when they take center stage.
There were a couple of places where the switching back and forth between shots was a little tedious but about halfway through you begin to learn what’s happening to the Mexicans; and you start to wonder what the Texas Ranger is going to do about it. Can’t say that I was entirely certain what the purpose of the cult was or what exactly they were trying to do to the Texas Ranger’s wife. I can only assume the intent was the manipulation and control of the towns folk by the Preacher.
Despite having been compared to The Hostel and The Most Dangerous Game in places this film is not really gory enough, in my humble opinion, to be classed as a horror.
The Duel Review Conclusion
I might watch it again – I enjoyed it although I felt the story seemed to jump in places slightly illogically. It could have been a little faster but it’s slowness didn’t make me want to turn it off. I think there is a lot of expectation for films to be constant action and the balance between the slowness and the violent outbursts worked quite well for this film.