The villain is the slaveholder Calvin Candy. He is evil, and as loquacious as anyone in Spielberg’s film; he is suave, and he dispatches his slaves casually and horrifically. At the center point of the movie, he delivers a long, intimidating speech on phrenology. The difference between the races, he explains, is physiological: the construction of the African American skull reveals the construction of their brains, and it is this construction that makes them inferior. […] Here, we are at the epicenter of Tarantino’s vision: the villain is exactly as cool and violent as the hero. Given this tenuous balance, morality becomes a matter of keeping, and defending, a code. This is American history as a story in which the qualities of greatness are also the qualities of terror; it is a vision that understands the double-edged nature of our proclivity for violence and our existential belief in the individual.