American History X, Review
American History X
1998, *****, Drama
A riveting thought provoking and intense movie. Edward Norton deserved an Oscar for his portrayal as a brutal neo-Nazi skinhead, who went under a dramatic lifestyle change after serving a prison sentence.
In the beginning Derek Vinyard (Norton) was a thoroughbred racist, influencing his younger brother (Furlong). His mind set very narrow, which lead him to murder a few black thugs trying to steal his truck.
His life changes dramatically when he is sent to prison. At first he doesn't talk to anyone in the prison. Quickly he forms a life-altering bond and friendship with a cellmate, who is ironically black. He becomes close with him and realizes that he wasn't much different from him. In prison he experiences traumatic situations that also make him realize how terrible he treated black people, and how there is good and bad in every race. A simple lesson, but one he didn't get until his prison experience. It was essentially a wake up call and it gave him a chance to turn his life around.
When returning home, he tries to get stay away from old friends that were racists like he used to be. He tries to make his brother Danny (Furlong) see how terrible his behavior was and show him the difference between right and wrong.
This film is very powerful, moving and controversial. I think it is the an outstanding Norton performance.