Customer Reviews

995
4.6 out of 5 stars
American History X
Format: Amazon Instant VideoChange
Price:$2.99
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

160 of 178 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2004
Format: DVD
How terrifying is it while listening to some of Edward Norton's rants in this movie....that you actually begin to understand his point of view on things? That's a very important aspect of this film. The hatred spewing from his mouth along with statistical evidence and insightful rhetoric places the viewer amist what seems to be an actual white supremicist rally. It becomes easy to see how so many fall into crowds like this with characters like the fictional Derrick Vinyard preaching to the masses. Many people don't like the way the world around them is. They're looking for a change. People like Vinyard offer a path to that change.
But this story is mainly about redemption. The redemption of the character in question, Derrick Vinyard. Only after he loses everything can he begin to see the horrible path that he has beaten for his younger brother who is speedily chasing after him. The unlikely friendship with a black prison inmate and the tutalage of his former principle are what helps him return to his humanity. The simple yet distanced solution to all the hatred and anger that he's felt most of his life comes like an epiphany: "It's just not worth it." A point that he vehemently drives into those around him.
Be forwarned, this is not a happy story. The ending is tragic yet depressingly real. Hatred becomes a vicious circle.
77 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
108 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2000
Format: DVD
This is one of the movies that touched me more than any others have in quite a long time. It puts a human face on skinheads, not glorifying them yet showing how a young person can be warped by a racist father and what racism can do to a family. Derek Vinyard had to learn the truth about racism the hard way by being betrayed in prison and he began to question his beliefs after a black man is the only person who befriends him. He begins to understand how futile and destructive hatred is only to pay for his mistakes in the end. At times this movies is difficult to watch but I think it is important for everyone to see. Ed Norton definitely deserved the oscar for this film and was cheated. Anyone who watches this will see how racism only destroys families, hurts others and destroys one's self in the end. It is brutal yet honest and it is what good filmmaking is all about it. I would give it ten stars if I could. Simply brilliant.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Stunningly powerful movie which left me and my friends in a state of quiet and thoughtful contemplation even as the titles were concluding. A cautionary tale I guess set in Venice Beach,California about hate and prejudice.Two common human traits of which none of us are innocent.
A talented cast led by those two Edwardians,Norton and Furlong of a story about a young neo nazi who is jailed for three years after the cold blooded killing of a black man attempting to steal his car.This flashback scene is not for the faint-hearted.He is unremorseful at first but eventually finds his epiphany within the stark reality of the prison walls.Enough said.
Despite the controversial nature of the film it does cut to the core hard and fast.I especially liked the flashbacks in black&white.An often used device which works well here,as does the quote by Abraham Lincoln towards the end,"...we must not be enemies but friends..." Many critics have been scathing of the one dimensional supporting characters and they may be right in that respect,Nortons exceptional performance not withstanding but this still does not devalue it from being one of the most critical and memorable films to come out of hollywood for a long time.One of my top ten for this last decade of the millenium and well deserved.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2000
Format: DVD
American History is chilling story about a skinhead Derek (Norton) who is sent to prison for killing two blank gang members. During his incarceration he is subjected to the brutal ways of prison society. In the prison laundry Derek meets a fellow black inmate who has no ill-feeling towards Derek's racist beliefs and helps Derek change his attitudes towards other people. Overtime, Derek begins too see the damage racism has brought to himself and his family. Unfortunately Derek's younger brother is heading towards the same path Derek took. Derek is determined too stop his brother and faces his former gang and mentor.
American History should be shown to all high school kids because the movie has such a strong message. The part of the movie that struck me was Derek's family. His family was emotionally and morally bankrupt by the past racism inflicted by Derek's deceased father and Derek himself. Ed Norton's portrayal as a young racist was chilling and convincing. You could feel his rage and hatred towards society and minorities in general. I thought Ed Norton deserved an Oscar, however the academy gets weak knees about issues such as racism. I would recommend this movie...
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2001
Format: DVD
Edward Norton gives an extraordinarily brilliant (and Oscar nominated) performance as Derek Vinyard, a neo-nazi skinhead in this explosive and powerful drama about two brothers caught up in a cycle of racial hatred and violence. Told through the eyes of Derek's younger brother Danny, superbly portrayed by Edward Furlong, this is the story of a family torn apart after the loss of their firefighter father, killed whilst working in a black neighbourhood. As a result, the highly intelligent Derek (Norton), already influenced by his late father's bigotry and manipulated by cowardly fascist Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach) becomes the charismatic leader of a local gang of skinheads. This inevitably leads to friction within Derek's family and his imprisonment for the murder of two black youths. Whilst in prison hero-worshipping Danny (Furlong) seeks to emulate his older brother and becomes more and more involved with the white power movement and influenced by Cameron (Keach) and his mindless morons. However, with a hero's welcome being planned for Derek's release from prison, he returns to his neighbourhood a changed man and sets out to repair the damage he's done to his family and to persuade his brother not to travel the same road.
Brilliantly written by David Mc.Kenna and with top-notch performances from both its male leads (ably supported by Avery Brooks and Stacy Keach) American History X is an intelligent and powerful examination of the causes and existence of racial bigotry and hatred. It does not seek to sensationalise rascism or violence but neither does it duck the issues. Controversial because of its frank portrayal of rascists as human beings, the scariest part of watching American History X is how credible and believable Edward Norton's rascists arguments (as the charismatic leader Derek Vinyard) can be and how easy it must be for impressionable youth to be drawn into a world of hatred and violence. This is as much education as entertainment and essential viewing for fans of intelligent drama. Described by the critics as "magnificent", "extraordinary" and "outstanding" American History X genuinely is a must see movie and a must own DVD.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
Format: DVD
Wow...I wasn't too keen on watching this film based on its premise, but it is truly one of the best films I've ever seen. Not many films would dare to peer into the cancer that is white supremacy, yet show that there can be a redemption of sorts. The most thought-provoking scenes occur during Derek's (Edward Norton) transformation in prison. Here, he finds that everything is not as he thought it was, and that some injustices are very real. He eventually befriends a black inmate who unconditionally treats him as an equal (despite clearly knowing Derek's racist views), and soon learns that his friend is serving 6 years for a mere theft that has been trumped up to "assault of a police officer", while his own sentence for murdering two black men is lesser. And yet this does not come off as some preachy statement on the injustices faced by blacks who commit crimes versus whites. The film levels the playing field quite admirably. Avery Brooks does a fine job as the Sweeney, a black teacher who recognizes the blind hatred in Derek and consequently in his younger brother Daniel (Edward Furlong), who is swiftly following in his brothers footsteps. Sweeney, reflecting on his own youth, sheds light on reverse-racism in growing up black. Both Edwards (Norton and Furlong) deliver intensely real performances.
This film, like no other I have seen in recent years, so well conveys the concept that the only real enemy is not to be found in another person, but in the blind, untempered hatred within us fueled by our fears, insecurities and misunderstandings.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I have to admit that given the story I really didn't want to see this movie. Recommended it by a friend I eventually sat down to watch it. When I did I was completely mesmerised. It takes an incredibly difficult premise and manages to make it credible, evocative and tragic. It's basically about a member of a white supremacy group, Edward Norton, who goes to prison for three years after killing three car theifs in a race attack. Told through the eyes of his younger brother, played by Edward Furlong, as he begins to follow in the footsteps of his brother. The movie takes a look at Norton's time in prison, his return and his effect on those around him.
'American History X' certainly doesn't shy away from some of its key moments and is highly graphic, so be warned. Never before have I watched such horrible sights of brutality and been moved to such an extent, some scenes are just so horrible that you will find yourself crying out. This makes it even more hard-hitting, and its message is a lot more complicated than 'racism is bad'. It talks about the effect of society on a disillusioned youth population, racial friction and the family unit.
Thanks to Edward Norton's brave, compelling performance, the audience is really dragged into his emotional turmoil. His performance is unflinching, refusing to cop out and go for the sympathetic vote. He's backed up by strong performances from Edward Furlong (the kid from 'Terminator 2') and Fairuza Balk (a much underrated actress whose formidable acting ability is yet again proved here) as his girlfriend.
This is a movie that has several levels to it. It's touching, horrific and serves up some troubling issues about the society that we live in. 'American History X' is a movie that everyone should see, and is one of only two movies (the other being 'Heavenly Creatures') that affected me to great depth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2000
Format: DVD
Wow...I wasn't too keen on watching this film based on its premise, but it is truly one of the best films I've ever seen. Not many films would dare to peer into the cancer that is white supremacy, reveal its twisted yet nearly convincing logic, yet show that there can be a redemption of sorts.
The most thought-provoking scenes occur during Derek's (Edward Norton) transformation in prison. Here, he finds that everything is not as he thought it was, and that some injustices are very real. He eventually befriends a black inmate who unconditionally treats him as an equal (despite clearly knowing Derek's racist views), and soon learns that his friend is serving 6 years for a mere theft that has been trumped up to "assault of a police officer", while his own sentence for murdering two black men is lesser. And yet this does not come off as some preachy statement on the injustices faced by blacks who commit crimes versus whites. The film levels the playing field quite admirably. Avery Brooks does a fine job as Sweeney, a black teacher who recognizes the blind hatred in Derek and consequently in his younger brother Daniel (Edward Furlong), who is swiftly following in his brothers footsteps. Sweeney, reflecting on his own youth, sheds light on reverse-racism in growing up black. Both Edwards (Norton and Furlong) deliver intensely real performances.
This film, like no other I have seen in recent years, so well conveys the concept that the only real enemy is not to be found in another person, but in the blind, untempered hatred within us fueled by our fears, insecurities and misunderstanding.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I have to say, there is a lot of negativity towards this movie. In fact, I think some of it is unfounded. I saw on Amazon that someone said it didn't examine racism. Where we watching the same movie? The issue was fully addressed and picked apart, mainly by Edward Norton. How so you ask? Well, in one of the flashbacks, Derek offers some interesting (and very logical depending on your perspective *Please note if you did agree with his arguement, that does not make you racist) points to why things are the way they are. Because of that logic, it lands Derek in jail. Naturally, he is afraid he will be killed in jail for his views. He does find others like him. But this is where the magic happenes. Derek discovers that the people that say the things he says, do not believe in the same thing. Derek's anger cleary defined when he finds one of his own dealing with a hispanic man in jail. Under the logic of Derek, this is not allowed. However, they accept it as business. Now Derek has changed and realizes what he has been believing all along is fake, phony, and hollow.

My point is this, the movie examines both sides of the issue, with a great deal of irony. Although Derek sees the issues as black/white (note that the flashbacks are very symbolic of this), but when he gets out, things are very grey. American History X is a brilliant film that should not be overlooked. It even applies to modern day America, and offers reasons for why we hate, and what we can do to change it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2005
Format: DVD
Wow! What a movie! I was nervous about this movie, because I thought it might be too much for me. Well, I finally saw it. It was very disturbing and moving and is a masterpiece. The movie is excellent with powerful performances notably by Edward Norton. Where's his oscar? Why'd Roberto Benigni get it? Edward was robbed!

The movie is very powerful and moving and has a very sad and tragic ending. The movie is so sad because it is depicting reality. The watcher sees these skinheads and how awful they are. But, then you think about some of Edward Norton's statements and how they're maybe true. This makes you think a lot. The movie is about the leader of the skinheads, Derek (Edward Norton) who is sent to jail for killing some black guys trying to steal his car. His brother Donny (Edward Furlong) is headed down the same path as Derek but once Derek is released, he is a changed man. He feels bad for what he has done and wants to change. But his brother is confused and the skinheads aern't happy with their ex leader. The movie is so powerful and moving and shows the remarquable transformation of a mean and angry man into a kind and caring man.

This movie is one of my favorites ever and I recommend it to everyone. It's not for light hearted people but this needs to be seen. This is an amazing movie that EVERYONE should see. You'll cry, turn your head away in disgust and might even get 1 or 2 laughs.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.