Friday, December 10, 2010

American History X

I'm starting to like Edward Norton as an actor. I liked him in The Illusionist, was floored with Primal Fear and was blown away with 25th Hour. And American History X only deepened my appreciation for him.

After three years in prison, former neo-Nazi skinhead Derek Vinyard (Norton) tries to prevent his brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from doing the same things he did.

When we're first introduced to Derek, out first thought is that we're supposed to hate him seeing that he's a smug, self-centered white supremacist. But after we see what happened to him in prison, we start to sympathize for Derek.

There's a great shot near the end of the movie. As he steps out of the shower, Derek sees in the mirror the swastika on chest, a symbol he one took great pride in now reduced to a symbol of humiliation of his past.

The flashbacks in black-and-white symbolize Derek's morality; the present day in color symbolizes his reformed life. I really liked American History X, even though the amount of racism made me a bit uncomfortable. The fact that Norton didn't win is obnoxious; who he lost to is more insulting. But either way, American History X is definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: ****1/2

1 comment:

  1. The movis is great but I thought the ending was such a let-down. It seemed like there was so much more to explore through Derek's "redemption"


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