High Plains Drifter

High Plains Drifter ★★★★★

Might be the cruellest and most hellish Western. The protagonist is literally and figuratively inhuman: a rapist, a harbinger of death, an emblem of vicious retribution. There's moral severity here, not only in thematic terms, but in imagistic ones too: a town painted red, Eastwood framed by towering flames as he brutally reaps what's been sown. This film is totally irreconcilable, irresponsible, even deplorable, but it has mythic, Old Testament-style heft. It took hold of me despite all reservations.

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