November 16, 2021
The stylish new Netflix Western forces us to choose between good violence and bad violence, with no option for mercy or grace.
This movie isn't meant to appeal to white theological ideologies, but rather it is a look at the complexities of Black life over and against white supremacy and how that blanket impacts us all.
Hi Terrance, thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I appreciate your point, and I think the emphasis on Black life in the old West is one of the most crucial and purposeful aspects of the movie. In addition to that, the movie thoroughly fits within a revenge Western framework, and it makes intentional use of Christian symbolism--all of that to say, it's got a lot of facets, which is really interesting and makes space for a lot of distinct readings! Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to fully address every facet, but I thought it was worth considering the limits of the revenge Western genre as a whole. (And in the end, my word is not the last word and certainly not the only word! Other reviewers have written more extensively and more knowledgeably about these Black historical figures than I can, and I'm grateful to read and learn from their insights!)
Whilst this is a revenge flick through and through, could Just War theory be used to justify violence to stop an evil aggressor harming the weak and vulnerable?
I’ve always been conflicted with the vengeance factor found in many Westerns. “Shane,” is one of my favorite movies, and it’s hero, Shane, tries to walk the straight and narrow, but finds that he has to resort to violence to keep things in order. He feels that sometimes, turning the other cheek isn’t a practical solution. Shane is a hero, and romanticized; but, I’ve always wondered if Shane was totally justified in his actions.
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