Derek Vinyard returns from prison to find his younger brother, Danny, caught in the same web of racism and hatred that landed him in prison. After Dereks father is killed in the line of duty by a minority, Dereks view of mankind is altered, but while in prison, he discovers that there is good and bad in every race. The task before him now is to convince Danny of his newfound enlightenment.
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I've seen a very large number of movies of all different genres, but"American History X" is by far and away the best movie I've everseen. It's also one of the most emotional movies I've ever seen.The acting is superb and Edward Norton should have won hisOscar.
A Finnish commentator compared this film to American prison drama OZ . Ilove OZ , it`s my all time favourite American show , it`s compelling andbrilliantly acted , adjectives you could use to describe AMERICAN HISTORYX. However while the HBO show suffers from lapses in logic there`s enoughgoing on in different sub plots for you not to notice these flaws butseeingsimilar flaws in this film you can`t help but notice themFirst let me point out the good aspects . As said this movie containsgreatperformances . In real life Ed Norton reminds me of the Kevin characterfromHARRY ENFIELD AND CHUMS with his floppy hairstyle and his back to frontbaseball cap but he always gives a good performance . In this movie hegivesa GREAT performance as Derek the skin head from hell . Edward Furlong alsogives a GREAT performance as Derek`s younger brother Danny . Norton earnedan Oscar nod but strangely Furlong seemed to miss out , a pity . Tony Kayealso shows us he had great potential as a director , and it`s one helluvashame it`s unlikely we`ll be seeing either Furlong or Kaye as bigHollywoodnames***** SPOILERS *****But it`s the script that brings the film down , and in some places it`squite woeful . Derek kills a couple of armed home boys who turn up at hishouse and he`s convicted of manslaughter . I know this is a plot devicebutcouldn`t it have been better done ? Is it possible any jury would haveconvicted Derek for protecting his property from armed burglers . I guessall the jurors were called Goldberg and Rubinstein ? And I`ve got to agreewith everyone who don`t buy the idea of Derek making friends with a blackguy inside prison even after Derek gets raped by the skin head gang , ohand how many prisons in America have a mix of one third black , one thirdhispanic and one third Nazi/peckerwood ? It`s unrealistic the reasons whyDerek stopped being a Nazi but it`s even more unrealistic why he becameonein the first place - His Father used the " N " word a few times ! Ofcoursethe real reason might have been that his Father was murdered by a blackgangbut if that`s the case then why include the dinner scene ? It`s justconfusing . There`s also another confused dinner scene where Derek`smotherinvites a Jewish teacher around the family table . Would a Jew want tosharea table with a couple of Nazi teenagers ?But the major flaw is with the ending . AMERICAN HISTORY X is a veryobviousredemption plot but Danny being murdered at the end doesn`t tie in withDerek`s redemption . If Derek remained a Nazi Danny would have died , ifDerek had become a flower arranger with Greenpeace Danny would have died .No matter what Derek would have done Danny would still have been murdered.When writing a redemption plot it`s essential the ending of the movie tiesin with the protagonist`s road to Damascus .AMERICAN HISTORY X possibly does deserve to be in the IMDB top 250 moviesbut not at number 58 . It contains great performances but also some verypoor scripting especially poor character motivation . If you want to see abetter , more thought provoking film concerning race hate watch ROMPERSTOMPER
This is an amazing film about a neo-nazi, white supremist from Venice Beach (Edward Norton) who is sent to prison after killing two black men but is in for only three years because the only witness is his brother (Edward Furlong) who refuses to testify. In prison Derek, (Edward Norton, the same guy I mentioned earlier obviously) is subjected to the horrors of prison life, and is reluctant to discover the truths about the wrongs commited against the Black community and the Hispanic Community, etc. through working in the laundry department with a black man in for several years for "resisting arrest" and "assaulting an officer." But it also appears that Derek had always been subjected to hatred, from his father, from the man he looked up to in the neo-nazi group, and from everything he'd read on the subject. Derek, however, after being released from prison wants to set things straight. He wants to get his old job back and make sure his brother doesn't get involved in what he did. However, to do this he needs to confront his old neo-nazi mentor, and the rest of the hate group that used to look to him as god... What is so great about the film is it's strikingly new and original subject matter. And the awesome use of black-and-white film to signify past events and normal technicolor for the present. The performances are stellar. Norton is all too believable as the former skinhead he portrays and almost is too in character. The supporting cast does a fine job in its role as well. But in American History X be prepared to be shocked and horrified by the film and the horrors of the neo-nazi hate society.
this is one gripping,emotionally charged film.the subject matter ofracism and its impact is both explosive and controversial.Edward Nortonand Edward Furlong both put in award winning performances.BeverlyD'Angelo is also great in a very unglamorous role.from the get go,themovie grabs you,and doesn't let go till it's explosive andshocking(though not necessarily surprising)ending.there are severalracial slurs uttered here and some brutal violence and very coarselanguage,but that only adds to the realism of it all.the filmmakers andactors hold nothing back here and it shows.for me,American History X isa 10/10
This was a gripping movie. Edward Norton did a flawless job acting. Thismovie was not meant to glorify racism,but to show the struggles of beingunder controversy. The black and white usage in the movie was a great wayto show the flashbacks. Definitely one of the top movies in1998.
This movie is a great movie. I believe that it should be brought, if ithas not already been, to High School history classes joining suchmovies as "Schindlers List" that open kids eyes to their world, what itwas like and or is today and how far we have come, achieved and orfailed as a society. Violence against humanity, hatred because of onesbeliefs, their culture, their ethnicity...what will become of us all ifthe lesson of acceptance, love and freedom without fear to be yourselfis not understood and lived by? *shrugs shoulders*...I am not here topreach, I just wish that things could be different. ...We have to haveten lines to submit...so heres the tenth line. :)
I saw this movie for the first time in 1999 and was simply amazed. It'sprobably the one movie I've seen in my life that's still tattooed on mybrain. Reason for this you ask? *SPOILER* The scene at the kerb outsideDerek(Edward Norton) Vinyards house. Oh My God!!! I will never forgetthat scene in my life! OK, it's not the most violent scene in a moviebut it certainly is one of the most realistic and brutal. Anywaaays,other than that *END OF SPOILER* this movie is amazingly well done. Thecharacters were all played brilliantly (noteably Nortons) and thescenes work well from colour(present day) to black and white(past)in aTarantino kind of way.**SPOILER AGAIN** We have Derek Vinyard, a guytorn by the death of his father Dennis (William Russ)who was shot bysome black kids as he was working as a fireman. Before this happened,Derek was a superb student who was very interested in cultural studiesuntil he told his father at the breakfast table that his teacher, DrSweeney (Avery Brooks) was teaching Affirmative Action in his studies.This is where you learn how Dereks mind is changed in terms of race ashis father tells a story of a black man succeeding to get work before awhite man, who was more qualified, in getting a job in the firedepartment where he worked due to said Affirmative Action. As hisyounger brother Danny(Edward Furlong) looks on at their conversationyou can see how he also becomes caught up in their racial views. Fromthis conversation and the circumstances of the two boys' fathers deaththey become caught up in a web of racial gang fights, causing carnageto anyone who isn't white American. These rampages become more and moreheated until 3 black guys go to Dereks house and try to break into hisfathers truck. Danny hears this happening and informs Derek who rushesdownstairs from his bedroom to greet the youths with a loaded gun. Astwo get away he grabs the one remaining(after shooting him in the leg)and tells him to "put your f***ing head on the kerb".This is the sceneI was referring to earlier and will inevitably shock even the mosthard-core movie goer. After Derek kills the black guy he is sent toprison (for six years as his brother didn't testify against him) wherehis views on racism are changed again. I must stop here as I will givethe movie away lol. To Put it in short, this is a must see for everyone(over 18, that kerb scene ooooh) as it deals with racism in a veryintelligent way and is superbly directed, riveting and well cast. Oneof my favourite movies of all time 10 1/2 out of 10. P.s. watch out forthe scene with Elliot Gould and Edward Norton conversing at the table.
A confused, randomly compelling family melodrama.
Some people say that "Fight Club" is the born of Edward Norton but thismeans that they haven't seen this movie yet. Every time you watch themovie you take the same taste as the first time maybe even better. Thefirst scene starts with a man making love with his girlfriend thatmakes you shocked at the first minutes but then the story takes you toa terrible prison, neo-nazi people defending the racialism so hardly, afamily so close to fall into pieces and so on. The players are chosenvery carefully and I think Norton fits to his character very very much.The friendship between Derek and the laundry man Lamont is so similarto the one between Andy Dufresne and Ellis "Red" Redding in ShawshankRedemption movie. This is a movie that everyone must put in hisarchives.
After seeing this movie in it's full length, I didn't realize what itreally meant until I started thinking about it for two minutes beforethe credits. But I must warn anybody who is against hate crimes andanything related to the Nazi group and their attack on other culturesbesides the white race, will have a difficult time watching this moviesas I have had. But it's on the top 250 movie list for a reason. Thestory is fantastic, the characters are wonderful, and the movie isn'ttoo long. Especially where I come from, and I have no idea why, peopleseem to love this movie. But besides all that I very much recommendthis movie to those that can stand racial slurs for two hours and notbe too offended.I give it an 8 out of 10.
I must admit I did enjoy this movie. But, in reading some of the commentshere, I wonder if I saw the same one.Yes, Ed Norton was superb and was deserving of his nomination. But I feltlike maybe 1/2 of this flick was missing. Why didn't they delve a littledeeper into his friendship in prison? Why was his separation from theskinheads so anticlimactic? It appeared there would be consequences forleaving Cameron for dead, but nothing came of it. Unfortunately, there aremore loose ends.I guess I now understand why Tony Kaye was so upset that he didn't get toedit this film - they turned what could've been a classic into a prettygoodmovie.
I never expected to see so many people who are so unwilling to believethatthis story could be realistic.I live in Pennsylvania. The KKK marches here often, and skinheads areseenas being chic in my backwoods part of the state. Hate groups flourishhere,as they do in California. Nothing about this movie felt false to me -I'veseen things like this happen.The black guys on the basketball court WOULD have walked away, because noblack American in his right mind attacks a white man in broad daylight.This is why several of them attacked the house at night.Finally, the ending was NOT a cheat. Peer pressure could easily havepushedthis boy into doing what he did at the end. *Please excuse the confusinglanguage; I'm attempting to avoid spoilers. :) *I think that most of those who have expressed dislike for this movie havedone so because the reality of this film causes discomfort. These peoplesearch for any possible flaw to make it seem less real. For me, it seemedall TOO realistic.
does a searing job of portraying the neo-Nazi community and what makes them tick.
AMERICAN HISTORY X (1998)Rating: 10/10I could not applaud this film more. What really make this movie are 2people. First is Tony Kaye, you have done a breathtaking directing job inturning what potentially could've been a replay of all the racist moviesover the past years into a film that I will never forget. Whenever somethingcomes up on the news about Nazis, skinheads, African-American fights etcI'll remember this film. Second person and probably the person who deservesit most is Edward Norton. Edward, your performance has changed my life. Ihave never seen a male give what is such an effortlessly amazing and trulymasterpiece of a performance. Were you really acting, Ed, or was Tony Kayejust following you around for a few years? Kudos also to script-writers,Edward Furlong, other supporting characters and good cinematography anddesign which flips from black-and-white to colour cleverly. This movie istotally violent, has a lot of coarse language and is extremely graphic aboutall its subjects. This is what they should really be teaching kids inschool, all about what really happens in America. I don't live in Americamyself but I thought it gave a very apt description of skinheads who livethere. Totally amazing stuff, American History X earns a place on my top 10films of all time, making it not only the best movie of 1998 but the thirdbest of the decade, following American Beauty (it is obviously good to haveAmerican as the first word for your film title Â all the movies that startwith the country are fantastic Â American Beauty, this film, American Pie,American Psycho, so on and so on) and The Shawshank Redemption. Trulyunforgettable cinema.
I have just finished watching this film and I have to say that it is thebest film that I have watched for quite a long while. I was alreadyimpressed by Edward Norton's performance in Fight Club so I had high hopesbefore I sat down to watch. The story was fantastic - very powerful andemotional, helped by the amazing performances by Norton and Furlong. Thedirection (who is Tony Kaye?) was superb. If you find yourself in the videoshop and can't see anything to rent, give this one a shot. I can guaranteeyou won't be disappointed.
This is the only thing by Kaye I've seen(and the only I'd really heardof), but everything else by him looks compelling. When dealing withsomething controversial and brutal, you can water it down and appeasecensors, or you can match it in how relentless it is. In the case of aflawed ideology, the battle can be fought mainly by letting thefollowers and their actions speak for themselves(this is notpropaganda; what we see in this could have happened). That is what wehave here. I've read that this was based on a true story; while I don'tknow for sure, I can imagine that it is. The editing is sharp andvicious, not playing down what we're seeing in the least.Cinematography is dynamic and it keeps the pace(and intensity) highthroughout, without reaching the point where we are overwhelmed orsomething didn't properly register with us. It is a 110-minute dirty,bumpy ride down a bad road, with the result that we can only seek toavoid the path, and deter others from following it, as well. The actingis spellbinding, every single performance. I found myself realizingthat I knew these people from other stuff(then again, why haven't Iseen Guy Torry in anything else good(steer clear of The Animal)? He'sgreat!); however, they are so convincing here that they disappear intotheir well-written, credible and well-developed characters. Furlong isamazing. Norton ignites the screen as the furious and charismaticDerek. Apparently, he recut this to get himself more time... I don'tknow, maybe he did; I have to admit, I am rather happy with thereleased version. The ending is perfectly underplayed, a brilliantpay-off to a subtle setup and an undeniable fact of the problem ofracism and hatred(as a sort of spot-on period to a film about thosesubjects). All of the script is impeccable. The dialog is natural, andthe unrestrained feel of it helps paint a clearer image of the typeswe're following. This is funny at times, and it isn't without upliftingmoments(not to be confused with sap or sentimentality); there is lightat the end of the tunnel, it's merely dim. The author of this does nothave anything other than this to his credit(well, S.W.A.T. wasdecent)... don't let that fool you. There is a ton of strong language,graphic, bloody and terrifying violence and disturbing content, alittle sexuality(and a rape) and male nudity, including full frontal inthis, and none of it is gratuitous. The DVD comes with three deletedscenes coming to a total of six and a half minutes and a theatricaltrailer. I recommend this to anyone mature enough for it, and who hasthe stomach for it(yes, regardless of any other parameters). 10/10
Having reduced racism to a kind of adolescent coping mechanism, X takes a mildly curious path to its foregone conclusion, writer-director Tony Kaye putting his leads through the somehow comforting 'hood-film paces.
I think all High School Children should be made to watch this film withoutany cuts. It would be a hard lesson for some but ultimatelyworthwhile.It would educate them against racism and show them how hard it is in prison. It would show them the absurdity of prejudice and that people can change,no matter how bad things are.This is a magnificent movie. Edward Norton is absolutelyoutstanding.
This movie is both brilliant and Powerful. Edward Nortongave an Oscar worthy performance (yet again) and the script and directingwere fantastic. I can honestly say it changed me (for the better.) Thismovie DEFINITELY deserves a bestpicture nomination and so far is my # 1 pick of the year!