Ford’s film is about the toll of vengeance on actual human beings, while Tarantino’s recent work is about the celebration of orgiastic vengeance as a symbolic correction of history. Ford’s film has had a vast and long-lasting effect on American cinema, while the impact of Tarantino’s film has, I suspect, already come and gone. But then, Ford only had the constraints of the studio system to cope with, his own inner conflicts aside, while Tarantino must contend with something far more insidious and difficult to pin down: the hyper-branded and anxiously self-defining world of popular culture, within which he is trying to be artist, grand entertainer, genius, connoisseur, critic, provocateur, and now repairman of history, all at once.

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