The Duel (2016), Dir. Kieran Darcy-Smith

The Duel (2016), Dir. Kieran Darcy-Smith
By some strange twist of fate, Abraham’s the same man that killed my father 20 years ago
— David Kingston, The Duel (2016)

Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Alice Braga, Emory Cohen, Felicity Price, José Zúñiga, William Sadler.
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Screenplay: Matt Cook

History is pretty disgusting, especially when it shines a light on what is still happening today. Maybe not to the extent of the viciousness of the past but our ability to still fear and hate is still all too clear.

The Duel is set in the late 1800's snuggled right on the border of Mexico and Texas. A place still to this day saddled with hate for what can come over this politically charged line. 

Abraham Brant (Woody Harrelson) is a known killer and has made a sport in killing anyone who decides to cross the border (or anyone who he doesn't like). 20 years previous he killed David Kingston's (a Texas Ranger played by Liam Hemsworth) father in a duel and Kingston has now been charged by the governor to investigate the killings in town Helena which Abraham has called his own. With his wife Marisol (Alice Braga) in tow, Kingston sets off.

This is a gorgeous film, from the beautiful actors to the costumes and setting to the cinematography. It mostly flows over the plains, through the grasses, and down the main street of Helena with grace and patience. Whatever the lens touches becomes a centre piece for some time. It is not afraid to take its time, which could be a good or a bad thing.

There are instances here where the film is reaching for a connection with the characters and surroundings instead of it feeling natural. A big part of this film is to believe that Abraham is more than a man, that he has been touched by god. This is a reach because it really doesn't come off as this, it is actually a bit baffling to see the affect he has on Marisol and how quickly this happens (quickly for this film mind you).

However that does not take away from the acting as it is stellar in this film. This is the first time I have believed that Hemsworth has the potential to really lead a film. Him and Harrelson are splendid in their roles and the supporting actors do a fine job in becoming essential to the film working. 

I would have scored this film slightly lower if it were not for the amazing showdown at the end. If you need any reason to watch this film let the final half an hour be the reason.