A friend of mine once nailed all the issues and problems with Ridley Scott as a director in a single sentence. “He creates great worlds, but very rarely does he create great films”. And this is every bit as true of The Duellists as it is for the vast majority of his films, excluding (of course!) Alien and Blade Runner. This is still a solid film however, with some beautifully shot sequences throughout, lovely attention to detail, and strong central performances from Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel, despite the fact that they are somewhat miscast – neither are completely at home as 18th century French army officers. The swordfights themselves are also excellent to watch, reminiscent of Kurosawa at his best, though the film does lack coherence outside of the duels of its two central characters.