American History X

"Essential"

American History X Review


It's a shame. Every year, I am disappointed with the Academy's pick for best picture of the year. Last year my favorite movie was LA Confidential. Did it win? No. Titanic won and that was a painful movie to sit through. This year, Saving Private Ryan will win all the gold undeserving. It was a terrific achievement in film, but American History X is the better movie.

Edward Furlong plays Danny Vineyard, a young skinhead who turns in a school paper on Mein Kampf. The principle (Avery Brooks) decides that a good lesson would be to have him write a paper on his older brother Derek (Edward Norton). The events in Derek's life are shown in black and white flashback, and we see how he is transformed from a straight A student to a murderer. Derek was sent to prison for killing two black kids who tried to steal his car. In prison he learns his lesson by making friends with a black inmate. He is raped and beaten because of the way he chose to live his life. When he gets out, he realizes that Danny is headed right where he was. He quits the skinhead gang called the D.O.C., headed by Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach) and tries to reform his brother. The movie uses powerful methods of getting its point across. The camera work is excellent, the acting is brilliant, and everything meshes perfectly together to form what I think is the best movie this year.

Will American History X win an Oscar? Probably not. The director Tony Kaye has disowned the movie saying that Humpty Dumpty should be listed as director because of editing disputes. I don't know what Kaye has to complain about here. It's a gritty, heavy way of looking at a portion of today's society and how it reflects on others. How some are just followers and don't have the intelligence to recognize what's going on.

Edward Norton is brilliant as Derek because he becomes him. I first saw his talent in 1996's Primal Fear as an accused murderer. He was great again as Woody Harrelson's attorney in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Where does Norton go from here? I'm glad that he doesn't take that many roles, so when he's in a movie, you know it's going to be good.



American History X

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th November 1998

Box Office Worldwide: $23.9M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: New Line Cinema, Savoy Pictures, The Turman-Morrissey Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 8.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Derek Vinyard, as Danny Vinyard, as Doris Vinyard, as Dr. Bob Sweeney, as Davina Vinyard, as Seth Ryan, as Cameron Alexander, as Stacey, as Murray, as Lamont, William Russ as Dennis Vinyard, as Rasmussen (as Joe Cortese), Jason Bose Smith as Little Henry (as Jason Bose-Smith), as Lawrence, Alex Sol as Mitch McCormick, as Jason, as Chris, Jonathan Fowler Jr. as Jerome, as Daryl Dawson, Nicholas R. Oleson as Huge Aryan, Alaïs Zoë Angélique Adell as Lizzy, Jordan Marder as Curtis, as McMahon, Thomas L. Bellissimo as Cop #2, Cherish Lee as Kammi, as Dr. Aguilar, Tara Blanchard as Ally Vinyard, as Cassandra, Steve Wolford as Reporter, Richard Noyce as Desk Sergeant, Danso Gordon as Buddy #1, David Basulto as Guard, Alexis Rose Coen as Young Ally Vinyard, Kiante Elam as Lawrence's Partner, Paul Hopkins as Student, Keith Odett as Random Skinhead, as Randy, Paul E. Short as Stocky Buddy, Nigel Miguel as Basketball Player, Darrell Britt as White Supremicist (uncredited), Robert 'Duckie' Carpenter as Skinhead (uncredited), Sydney 'Big Dawg' Colston as Prison Gang Leader (uncredited), Hans Cozzens as Police officer #2 (uncredited), John Embry as Parking Lot Skinhead (uncredited), Maximillian Kesmodel as Young Danny Vinyard (uncredited), Barbie Marie as Student (uncredited), Allie Moss as Skinhead Girlfriend (uncredited), Louis E. Rosas as Jail Inmate (uncredited), as Jail Inmate (uncredited), Jeremy Sweet as Skinhead (uncredited), Selwyn Ward as High School Student Leaving Bathroom (uncredited), Denney Pierce as Arresting Officer (uncredited), Glendon Rich as Deputy Sheriff (uncredited)

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