One of the fun things about Netflix (and having a ridiculously long queue) is that I’ll receive movies, but have absolutely no clue why I put them on my queue. Such is the case with The Duellists. It was the first film Ridley Scott directed, but that wouldn’t be a reason. It stars Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine, who are cool, but I don’t think that would be enough. The movie was written by Gerald Vaughn-Hughes, but I’ve never seen anything by him, and it is based on a story by Joseph Conrad, who is cool. The Duellists is about two soldiers in Napoleon’s army who fight a series of duels. Which is kinda badass-sounding. So maybe that did the trick?

Anyway, I instantly regretted the pick. I say “instantly”, because for some reason, my DVD player didn’t sync up the sound and video. Making the opening swordfight rather bizarre. Fortunately I had my 360. Or I should say “unfortunately.” Because, wow, what a terrible movie.

I mentioned that the movie was about Keitel and Carradine dueling, yes? Well, that’s pretty much all there is to the movie. They don’t have a good reason for fighting. They don’t see each other for years, but when they happen upon each other, time for another duel. Sort of like Peter Griffin fighting that chicken. Only worse. In between duels, well, I’m not sure they got around to deciding what would happen between duels. Which was a mistake, in my humble opinion. There’s a few vague subplots involving women, I suppose. But they are beyond thin. And the ending, well, I suppose the fits the rest of the movie. In that it is pointless, unsatisfying, and pretty much stupid.

OK, the movie wasn’t entirely bad. The moustaches were pretty amazing. Also, Keitel’s character is the special kind of dementedly driven than only Keitel can conjure. I would not want to be alone in a room with that man. Albert Finney is in the movie. And for a brief second so is the guy who plays Hastings on A&E’s Poirot. So that’s something. Also, someone named Tom Conti who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for a movie called Reuben, Reuben. I can’t believe I’m not making that up. The duels themselves are generally awkward, though there’s one that is kinda cool.

Please don’t see this movie. Read a book. Play outside. See a different movie. Poke yourself in the eye with a fork.

Trailer after the jump. It does a fair job describing the vapidity that is The Duellists.

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