Thursday, March 17, 2016
I mean, Warren is an exceptionally complex character. This is a man who recognizes that all of the promises that America has made to black people have been broken, even the ones implied by granting him a blue uniform. He understands that his freedom as a black man has been made possible only through an act of tremendous, sustained violence--the Civil War. And so for him to escape a Confederate prison camp by setting it ablaze, killing dozens of men, many of them Union soldiers, in the process, or to torture and kill the southern soldier--who, by the way, had made the trek to Warren's Wyoming home in order to make good on a Confederate bounty against the Major's life--well these are no great stretch of the moral imagination. He is only obeying the logic of his own survival. In his heartbreaking lie about possessing a personal letter from Abraham Lincoln, Warren reveals his most important piece of wisdom. In a world as defiled as this one, any promise, any trust, is only as good as the guile and force that backs it up. It's to Tarantino's and Jackson's credit, I believe, that they so accurately identify the injustice and violence that shape Warren's world and yet refuse him the righteousness, the innocence, of victimhood. Or rather, he is a victim of politics and history but is still hateful.