For a long time - since I first saw it way back when - I thought Steven Spielberg's "Duel" the best made-for-TV movie ever. Not anymore.
The cinematography by Conroy pushes this way beyond the "Duel" envelope. It is magnificent, accomplishing everything for the television format that one would expect from wide-screen. But it is well supported by a generally tight and able script and direction and great performances by all the actors involved.
This is a taught "thriller" Western, rather than a rehash of old conventions. The film opens with nods of respect to "The Wild Bunch" and Hill's "The Long Riders," but then establishes itself as its own study in the demoralization of men of violence. There is no right or wrong in this story, in the last analysis, only the struggle for survival, and a final contest between two strong men.
A brutal yet thoughtful presentation of such a struggle, leaving some questions to the audience for answer; but again, the highest marks go to the cinematography, and the editing that enhances it. This is a gorgeous film, visually, despite its troubling content.
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