DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
Recounting either the anecdotal or true story of two French army officer’s 16 year series of duels during the Napoleonic Wars (Spanning 1800 – 1816), Ridley Scott’s first real feature film left me wanting.
Wanting for drama for a start. Following a duel in which Harvey Keitel’s, Feraud was victorious, D’Hubert (Keith Carradine) is sent to inform him that he is to be disciplined
Kietal, nothing short a raving nutter, takes umbridge and quite literally tries to kill the messenger! This sparks a rather one sided grudge in which Feraud bullies D’Hubert into various duels over the next 16 years.
This is an intriguing story, more so because it may be true, but the film lacks any significant tention. The pacing, quite typical for a film of the 70’s, is slow and lacking any momentum or real character development.
Carradine’s, D’Hubert is the only one to get any time spent on him, whilst Keitel is squandered and becomes nothing more than a one dimensional cartoon villain.
On the other hand, the cinematography is gorgeous, a credit to Frank Tidy, and despite my criticism, it is not a bad film and certainly a strong start for Scott’s career on the big screen, laying out his stall as a filmmaker, in a career which to date has lasted over 40 years.