American History X
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Here's a dramatic display of important events in the history of black Americans. The colorful illustrations begin with the arrival of the first African slaves in Jamestown in 1619 and end with the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. The strip is 8 1/2 inches high and over 14 feet long.
Perhaps the highest compliment you can pay to Edward Norton is that his Oscar-nominated performance in American History X nearly convinces you that there is a shred of logic in the tenets of white supremacy. If that statement doesn't horrify you, it should; Norton is so fully immersed in his role as a neo-Nazi skinhead that his character's eloquent defense of racism is disturbingly persuasive--at least on the surface. Looking lean and mean with a swastika tattoo and a mind full of hate, Derek Vinyard (Norton) has inherited racism from his father, and that learning has been intensified through his service to Cameron (Stacy Keach), a grown-up thug playing tyrant and teacher to a growing band of disenfranchised teens from Venice Beach, California, all hungry for an ideology that fuels their brooding alienation.
The film's basic message--that hate is learned and can be unlearned--is expressed through Derek's kid brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), whose sibling hero-worship increases after Derek is imprisoned (or, in Danny's mind, martyred) for the killing of two black men. Lacking Derek's gift of rebel rhetoric, Danny is easily swayed into the violent, hateful lifestyle that Derek disowns during his thoughtful time in prison. Once released, Derek struggles to save his brother from a violent fate, and American History X partially suffers from a mix of intense emotions, awkward sentiment, and predictably inevitable plotting. And yet British director Tony Kaye (who would later protest against Norton's creative intervention during post-production) manages to juggle these qualities--and a compelling clash of visual styles--to considerable effect. No matter how strained their collaboration may have been, both Kaye and Norton can be proud to have created a film that addresses the issue of racism with dramatically forceful impact. --Jeff Shannon
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Top customer reviews
Often, it is so easy to take the easy way out and place blame on others for circumstances and events none of us truly know anything about. In my profession it means a lot to me when people are able to artistically and creatively gather and mold societal illusory realities into a work that can be observed and impactful upon the minds and hearts of people and spark an awakening from the brainwashing.
Perhaps there is hope for humanity.
REAL SCRIPT; TIGHT ...BUT IT DOES HAVE A COUPLE OF MOMENTS BUT OVERALL
IT IS PERFORMED WELL AND THE SCRIPT MAKES YOUR SKIN CRAWL AND YOUR HEART BREAKS
AND YOU'LL FEEL HELPLESS AND DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO TO GET OUT OF HELL.
*BUT I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE SAY THE ONLY THING TO DO IS LEAVE, JUST LEAVE, JUST LEAVE....
GET DETERMINED AND LEAVE...TO SAVE YOUR SONS.....
Edward Norton gives the performance of his career. If you haven't seen this yet for some reason, it is highly recommended.