Friday, 19 June 2009

American History X

The film is driven behind the character of Derek Vinyard. He is an extremely intelligent and articulate but is he is hugely influenced by his father’s views on black culture ‘affirmative action’; his father was a fire-fighter before he was killed by a black drug dealer. This seems to be the defining factor in him becoming second in command of The Disciples of Christ (D.O.C.). The opening scene of the film see’s three black men park in front Derek’s house. His younger brother, Danny, hears them and informs Derek, telling him that "a black guy" was outside. Derek becomes incensed and grabs his pistol.

He opens the door and shoots one of the men, killing him, and wounds a second. The third escapes in their car. Derek kills the wounded man by stomping on the back of his head (one of the most horrific scenes in any film) Danny watches in horror and witnesses his brother gets arrested.In prison Derek becomes a reformed neo-Nazi mainly due to him becoming good friends with a black guy in prison, this helps him realise that his hatred is just a generalisation. He is released from prison after serving three years.

Upon being released, the story develops as he finds that his younger brother, Danny has followed his footsteps and has become an active white supremacist in the D.O.C (group Derek led before his arrest).

Derek decides to leave the group whilst trying to keep his brother from making the same mistakes he did. The main aspect of the film lays emphasise on the events that lead him to change his racial perception. The film certainly does not glorify skinheads but does show how a young person can have distorted views and racial prejudices; it also shows how much pain and suffering racism cause.

One of the most integral parts of the movie is the arguments presented by the white supremacists , some of the views appear to be, on the surface valid points, this could well be down to the incredible performances in the film.

However, with further interpretation it is not viable to argue subjectively and so generally on complexity of issues such immigration and rising crime and pin this down on particular race of people. This film points out with great force and raw emotion, racism is about hate and insecurity which is subjected on a generalisation with which to use as a scapegoat for their problems.

I have to say that one the best parts of the film is the superb performances by Edward Norton (maybe his best) and Edward Furlong which were incredible exceptional; very dramatic and poignant. I definitely believe that Norton should have received an Oscar for his part in this film. The overall theme is something which its audience will always remember; it is incredibly inspiring for all races which presents the message that we are all human-beings.

The ultimate part of this movie ifsthat it demonstrates the true cost of one man's hatred, and seeing it in the end; tear apart his family. It’s a powerful message and powerful movie.

However, this film is not for everyone; it has strong racism and extreme violence which is capitulated by the opening scene which see’s a man bites on to a curb and stomping on the back of his head, thus breaking his neck. Worst of all, it contains a rape scene. Despite this, in my opinion this is a must see film.

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