An American production, shot in English on the Croatian coast with a mainly Anglo-Irish cast, The Duel is intelligently staged and impeccably crafted. Although co-producer Donald Rosenfeld is a long-time Merchant Ivory associate, this potentially middlebrow exercise is neither anemic nor unduly genteel. The period atmosphere is sensuous; the postcard setting feels lived-in. Koshashvili, whose 2001 Late Marriage was a superbly volatile generational farce, gives the Masterpiece Theater tradition a welcome zetz.
Like Late Marriage, The Duel features a memorable female turn, although here one of transcendent passivity. Glascott's Nadia is a foamy cocktail of rosy cheeks, ruby lips, overflowing bodice . . . and numbing affect. Yet, thanks to Glascott's ineffable sadness, this vulgar creature, too, has a soul—maybe even a Russian soul. In any case, The Duel is the most successful literary adaptation I've seen since Pascal Ferran's 2006 Lady Chatterley.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!