I recently got send a DVD movie via post from Chelsea Films, I assumed I was supposed to review it and so that’s what I did.
The movie was 2011 New York based indie film ‘The Duel.’ The film revolves around a two vs. two-player underground basketball format in which teams complete fiercely for cash etc. Directed by Diego Hallivis, the movie sees humble country boy Vance (played by newcomer Phil Haus) leave the Midwest for New York and join a brand new school in a tougher NY neighborhood.
Automatically the boy is bait for his peers until he proves his B Ball skills to campus topdog Jules. The two then decide to form a partnership and earn some cash in B ball tournaments immediately opening a whole new world to our boy Vance…
The film has smatterings of high school romance, social commentary, tragedy and betrayal on a high school backdrop which immediately had me compare ‘The Duel’ to films like ‘Step Up’, ‘Honey’ and perhaps more appropriately ‘Coach Carter.’
At times the indie film’s clear budget limitations interrupted the unfolding of the story and plot on screen, I’m talking about dodgy voice overs, slippery fight scenes and some unattractive editing. But by the end of it I was satisfied with what I saw; Although some of the B Ball scenes were slightly long and aimless – I think the cast were on the whole very likable. I did question Phil Haus’s ability as leading man throughout the film but for the most part he was consistent and committed, however other newcomer Jason Hurt – was easily the more comfortable on screen. I thought the script was well structured and allowed me to enter their world easily. The romance between Vance and Lena (Noelle Mihalinec) was overly dramatic, but you do begin to root for them.
I have always wanted to visit New York, and with this film I got a sense of what that visit would be really like and so I thought the film showcased the city genuinely…and takes it away from Hollywood and naturally helps back up the film’s twists and turns…
With a (mostly successful) contemporary Hip Hop soundtrack the film is aimed at the under 25’s (I’d say) and again for anyone who got enjoyment from the above mentioned films. So although not quite “Coach Carter” it’s definitely worth a shot…through the hoop? Get it?