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4.6 out of 5 stars
American History X: SteelBook Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2004
Released in 1998 by New Line Cinema, American History X is a serious drama that reveals racism and hate prevalent throughout the world today. Set in Southern California, where a real life white supremacy "Skinhead" movement has flourished off and on for more than a decade, American History X portrays the story of Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton). Vinyard, second in command of the local hate group, serves three years in the penitentiary for the brutal killing of two black men. However, in prison he finds the truth concerning his racist cohorts and is befriended by a black inmate. Upon his release from prison, Vinyard finds himself a changed man that must save his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from the movement he helped establish.
Norton's intense portrayal of both sides of the elder Vinyard, first as the angry, hate filled racist, and then as the loving, older brother determined to save his younger sibling from following the same path, earned him an Academy Award nomination. This five star drama is emotional and powerful, and is filled with a recognizable cast including Beverly D'Angelo, Fairuza Balk, Elliott Gould and Stacy Keach. Not for the weak and weary, American History X delivers the brutality associated with all racist groups, white and black, through to its climactic ending.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
A solid, worthwile movie on its own, "American History X" falls a bit short of being a masterpiece. Tony Kaye`s directional debut is a strong piece of filmmaking, a poignant urban drama about racism and the way youth deals with it.

The plot focuses the relationship of Derek Vinyard (an excellent Edward Norton) and his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong, also well cast), who live in a Californian neighborhood. Derek and his friends have strong neo-nazi convictions, an ideology that they have chosen (or were just manipulated) while were dealing with the difficult task of growing up and its common alienating process.
After Derek spends some time in prison, his views of society change and he becomes a more tolerant, reasonable person and struggles to get his brother away from some racist influences. Kaye knows how to deliver a gritty and realistic atmosphere, with an intriguing visual style and some tense and suspenseful moments.
There are a couple of brutal, strong scenes here to enhance the violence and latent danger of extreme racist actions. However, the tone of the movie is uneven, switching between a dry, dark and credible approach or a more emotional and somewhat predictable perspective. This situation is better noticed in the not too surprising ending, that almost seems like an afterschool special.
Despite some stereotyped moments, "American History X" is still a consistent effort, one that is both captivating and meaningful, way above most of the mind-numbing "movies" out there.

Director Tony Kaye also deserves recognition for presenting two young racists that are not stupid, dumb, one-dimensional characters, just confused and reluctant individuals who still don`t know how to deal with their world.
A good, though-provoking movie.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2003
Wow. The number of glowing reviews for this repellent little work of art shows what a fine job our public schools are doing at turning people into mind-numbed, politically correct morons. American History X juxtaposes the perfectly rational dialogue by the film's main "racist" (Norton's character) with appalling acts of violence, in an attempt to link reasonable and legitimate conservative opinions with outright racism. (I can just imagine what the geniuses who admire this film will say after reading this review... "Reasonable???") The filmmaker is trying to say that holding opinions expressed by certain characters such as opposition to affirmative action/ welfare is just a few steps away from stomping on someone's head. That is the totalitarian tendency of political correctness. American History X wallows in the most pretentious political correctness ever put on film.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2004
if we will ever have a movie exemplifying the racist attitudes of the people of Israel?
The problem with this movie is it portrays ethnocentricism as a white pathology, which is completely contrary to what we find in this world. How many people like Norton's character really exist in our modern world? Very few. If we are going to make a movie about ethnocentric behavior, the portrayal of an Israeli soldier would be much more relavent and believable.
Ultimately, this movie provides no insight to real life racist behavior. It simply promotes the hollywood myth that egalitarianism is the normal human tendency, and only white people prefer their own race or tribe over others. Meanwhile, the whole world is errupting in ethnic wars and indoctrinated Americans don't have a clue as to why.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2004
Everyone kept telling me to see this movie. They said it would be like nothing I have ever encountered before.
Well, I saw it. Was I moved? Hardly. Instead I found myself to be incredibly bored and even slightly annoyed.
The movie attempts to lecture white kids kids about racism. It does a terrible job. I am white, and grew up around white racist kids, and let me tell you....they were horrible animals. And you couldn't change them. They were sadistic cowards. The makers of this movie are so naive. They actually think they can change the views of racist kids by exposing them to one of the sappiest, overly sentimental movies of the past decade?
They really believe that ridiculously melodramatic scenes will get through to these idiots?
We all know that racism exists and how bad it is. And the stereotypes in this movie are so politically correct, that they very well may further racism rather than stop it.
This movie also seemed to alienate white kids. It makes it as though you can only be racist if you are white, and that the social problems of other minority communities excuse their prejudices and racist attitudes towards white people.
At least thats the feeling I got from the film. I could be wrong. But it feels strangely familiar.
American History X drags on and on. The story is poor. The dialogue is poor. I actually pity the actors. Its not really their fault. I mean, they were given such terrible lines, they really had nothing to work with.
One of the biggest failures of the movie was the transition of Norton's character from a violent racist to an open minded, loving, saint. The change was brought about so poorly in the movie that it was embarrasing to watch because it looked so artificial.
I applaud movies that attack the evils of racism, but this one is an utter failure. It relies far to much on shock value rather than plot and character development. There is nothing here. Its as though high school students wrote the script.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2004
it seems imposible for the weidros in Hollywood to produce a film that comesclose to the truth in America (or Europe)
these days.
Eddy Norton stars as Derek, a talented pupil in High School whose father gets murdered by a black drug dealer during the L.A. riots. Traumatized by this Derek becomes the leader of a local Nazi Skinhead gang mentored by a would be Adolph called Cameron (Stacy Keach).
The problem here is that most of the things the fictional character Derek addresses are true, ilegal imigration, the fact that most criminals are blacks, the fact that the public school system in America (and Europe) have turned into zoos where drugs and non-white gangs are the status quo. Basically he just takes those argumentations to th extreme and starts his own personal revenge crusade, that sends him straight to prison.
There he gets raped by his white (!!!) Nazi fellow inmates.
AMerican History X wants to make a point, but in the end comes up with the same old clichees about the bad bad white folks who should be like dumb sheep and "tolerate" marauding blacks and Latinos in their cities, who happily should pay taxes so that illegal aliens can get even more dollars out of the honest white working men, and of course "Racism is Bad" , geeeee, who would have guessed.....
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8 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2004
another movie to villianize white people? This movie, like so many other pieces of liberal propaganda, only serve to reinforce the notion that only whites can be racist, that whites are wholly responsible for the societal problems of the other races, and that whites everywhere are conspiring to subjugate minorities. As for me I am getting a little sick and tired of it. I wonder if we will ever see a balanced and honest view of racism and ethnocentrism out of Hollywood. Somehow I doubt it.
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