American History X is a cultivating movie that captures a neo-Nazi culture and examines it through a young boy and his search to find who he really is. This film sets a harsh but eye opening depiction of racism and hatred in America. This drama was released in 1998 and was directed by Tony Kaye. It takes place in California, which at the time was known for racism related violence and uprisings.
This movie is through the perspective of Danny Vinyard, a young boy who adores his brother, Derek, played by Edward Norton. Derek was a mislead youth who is full of hatred toward all races.He is like this because of his father feeding him with racist propaganda. Derek is at the top of a neo-Nazi gang and eventually gets convicted for murdering two people. While Derek is in jail, Danny wants to emulate his brother and become a skinhead and disrespect and abuse all other races. Because Danny was acting up in school, he was put in a special course called "American History X" and is told to write a paper about his brother and what he believes of him. This paper is the main backdrop and narration of the film. While in jail, Derek befriended a African American and makes the realization that his hatred and cruelty are for no use because the color of your skin makes no impact on the goodness of your heart. Derek comes home a new man and wants to encourage his brother to change. The way the actors make the plot seem so believable and the way I became attached to Derek as he found himself is what makes this movie a must watch. Edward Norton put together a masterful performance that deserves recognition. The overall character development of the whole cast is also phenomenal. The camera views and filters also make this film very special. While the movie flashes back in time, the camera is set in black and white and uses varying angles and slow motion effects to make the scene more powerful and meaningful. Although the black and white was very classic and strong, there are some scenes where it is not necessary at all.
American History X is a educational and thought provoking movie that should be watched with a open mind and knowledge of history. I recommend this movie to all of those who want to be swept away by an incredible film filled with hardship and harsh reality. Although I recommend for people to watch this movie, it should certainly not be shown to children. The language and actions in this film are often harsh and violent and many adults would find this movie disturbing. American History X is a controversial film that is not too sweet, but is a strong movie that depicts a culture and a man who is trying to change his ways.