American History X - Movie review

American History X

American History X - Movie review

Apart from the attraction of mainstream movies and their extremely imaginative violence, cinema seems to have somewhat completely overlooked the topic of white nationalist Neo-Nazis.

Truth be told, it is a gory subject, and attempting to depict it in the film can be vilified because of how it might appear to glorify or sympathize with these people.

That being said, American History X was never vilified for showing white supremacy as a sound ideology. Generally speaking, American History X offers unique entertainment, but it never really manages to be an accurate portrayal of the sort of citizen that might be into racial ideologies.

The reason behind this is that Edward Norton’s character is someone who has actually gone down that path, gotten punished for it, and learned the error of his ways. The plot revolves around two brothers Derek and Danny (Norton and Furlong).

Derek had just been released from prison after serving three years for the killing of two African American men when he comes to realize that his younger brother, who idolizes him is on the same path that has led to his incarceration. After his 3 years in prison, Derek is a changed man and tries his best to set his younger brother straight.

The plot in American History X does not bode so well under close inspection. Incidentally, racism is not as clearly defined as the inconceivable denial of it by both siblings.

Derek's transformation is shown through a few short, hasty scenes that have cheapened the amount of trouble a racist has to go through, before changing. Even Danny, who initially seemed to be the center of the plot, gets a change of heart rather quickly, and then recedes to a narrating role, in the form of an essay he’s writing.

Bottom line, this movie is a must-see because of the topic it sheds light on. However, the distracted, superficial writing dampens a story about indicting an environment in which bigotry is a closely controllable subculture with its own rules and dogmas. Also, the weakness of the script undersold Edward Norton's mesmerizing performance.

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Updated 3 years ago