John Wayne hated High Plains Drifter. “That isn’t what the West was about,” he wrote to director/star Clint Eastwood in 1973. “That isn’t the American people who settled this country.”
A revisionist western with a splash of supernatural, Eastwood’s third film as a director debunks the old feel-good stories America tells about itself.
As Eastwood’s ghostly gunslinger paints the town red, stirring up old memories of a collective past crime, HPD ladles on the ’Nam-era finger-jabbing allegory.
Eastwood, channelling his two mentors Leone and Siegel, directs with economy, weaving a sinister atmosphere of drifting dread.
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