American History X: SteelBook Edition [Blu-ray + DVD]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Comprehensive Making-of Documentary Humpty Dumpty and the Kaballah Additional Scenes Theatrical Trailer [in High Definition]
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Top Customer Reviews
It is an emotionally engaging, heartrending experience, essentially unlike anything I have ever seen before.
It is a shame that this movie remains relatively unknown--it is certainly comparable to some of the greatest "classic" films that people tout much more openly: the stark, unflinching way in which it addresses some of the darkest elements not only of our society, but of the individual, is unforgettable.
This is THE film for anyone who is looking for a thought-provoking, stirring, and unbelievably raw work.
Norton (who, incidentally, ended up contributing a great deal in the post-production process after the director effectively abandoned the project) delivers a fabulous and haunting performance.
NOTE: This film is not for everyone. Approach with an open mind, or stay away.
I would have to say that if you can make it through the first fifteen minutes of the film's graphic violence and hatred that the rest of the movie is a must see.
We are introduced to Derek, through his little brother's retelling of the violent episode that sent Derek to prison and the events thereafter. Danny Vineyard (Edward Furlong) idolizes his older brother and yearns to be just like him. He enjoys the knowledge that everyone identifies him as the brother of the most respected member of their white supremacy group, headed by Cameron. Stacey Keach is perfect in this role. You can almost see the slime oozing off him.
Conflict arises when a black high school teacher, whom Derek had admired before his initiation into racism, recognizes the potential that Danny possesses, but sees him following in his older brother's footsteps. He seeks Derek out in prison and asks his help in setting Danny on the right path.
The prison scenes alternate between horrifying and down right hilarious as Derek comes to the realization that he may have been wrong in his biases of people. Derek sets out to save his brother from perpetuating the life that he has led.
This movie runs the full gamete of emotions. In the space of an hour and a half, I laughed and I cried. I was disgusted, mortified, amused, and enlightened.Read more ›
I was disappointed, and would like to say why. First of all, I can't malign Edward Norton. I think that his performance is .. breathtaking, and certainly worth seeing the movie for. Indeed, I don't say that one shouldn't see this movie. However, and I won't give away the ending, it's not worth owning. Edward Furlong was a welcome presence here, and one I hope to see more from - and I don't remember his name, but the large man who drove the bug truck - was wonderful. I hated him every second.
However, the plot was lacking. There was no subtlety, and the characters seemed so one-sided as to almost be farcical ...types of actual people. The point may have been, in this movie, to provide no subtlety, and to be violent with the plot and imagery, but I think some of that was lost in the intent. The opening scenes were of a beach or an area like that, with waves slowly lapping in over the sands. If that was meant to convey some great metaphor, I think I must have missed it. Flashbacks in black-and-white seemed meaningful, and the character of Derek was intelligent as well as conflicted, but I didn't understand his metamorphosis, and I found it extremely hard to believe that his younger brother would simply .. alter his ways just like that.
All in all, I'd only give this movie the three stars on the basis of the strong, strong acting. It's only missing the last two of plot and development.
The story is primarily told through the eyes of Derek's younger brother Danny, played by Edward Furlong. At the beginning of the story Danny is in trouble yet again for writing a paper on that most misunderstood figure, Adolph Hitler. Danny is an up and coming member of the Skin-Head gang located in that area of California. Avery Brooks, appearing as Danny's principal, doesn't want to give up on the promises he sees in Danny. Instead of throwing him out, he assigns another paper to be written. This is to be on Danny's older brother, Derek, who was just released from prison that morning. Derek was the head of the Skin-Head gang that Danny is currently running with. The rest of the movie flashes back and forth from the past to the present. Through Danny's paper we see how Derek, a brilliant student, is turned into a bitter teen-ager that believes only through "white-power" will he get anywhere in life. We also see the tragic night that causes Derek to be justly imprisoned. In the present phase of the movie we encounter a Derek who has grown intellectually while in prison and will now do anything to get his brother out of the trap he allowed himself to be drawn into.
Ed Norton is wonderful in this role. Those who have seen him in previous roles remember him to be a good actor but built on a rather slight frame.Read more ›
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One of my favourite all time movies - violent, yes ... but redemption is possible.Published 19 months ago by Susan Hutchinson