• R, 1 hr. 58 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Tony Kaye
    In Theaters:
    Oct 30, 1998 Wide
    On DVD:
    Apr 6, 1999
  • New Line Cinema

Critic Review - eFilmCritic.com

Any idiot can make us wince at the ugliness of beatings and shootings.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (30)
eFilmCritic.com

Comments

Rohan P

Rohan Parker

Just as any idiot can attempt to reduce a strong film with an irrelevant stab at "wit".

Dec 27 - 09:36 PM

LordHangnail

Kevin Yo

Any idiot can also deconstruct a film's entire message and focus soley on the violent aspects of said film.

Aug 17 - 09:09 AM

jarhead114

Jared Anderson

Wow, what an ignorant remark. It's that same elitist attitude that's portrayed in the movie as the source of all the violence and hatred.

Sep 7 - 10:31 PM

Action.Jackson

Jack Jacobs

Did this guy even watch the movie? This movie is about truly understanding what kind of corruption racism bring to people . Any Idiot can write a ****ty movie review too. Who made lots of money in the process...?

Oct 20 - 01:05 PM

Samuel Clemens

michelle melchor

Did you happen to understand the movie? Or even watch it? You're such and ignoramus

Jan 24 - 12:49 AM

vailate

patrizia patrizia

Idiot like you, sir?

Feb 17 - 08:09 AM

Anakin

Drizzt Reznicek

i hate when critics like this think there so damn clever and waste an entire review on something that ****ing stupid.

Mar 3 - 07:07 PM

Mario R.

Mario Rodriguez

Any idiot can write a bad movie review. I can't believe anyone found anything wrong with this movie.

Aug 8 - 06:43 AM

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabidu

Larry David

"Any idiot can write a bad movie review. I can't believe anyone found anything wrong with this movie."
- Mario R.

Dude, there is SOOOOO much wrong with this movie. Did any of you dumbasses even read the review? He makes very convincing points. Look past Norton's performance and focus on the story and direction (the 2 most flawed aspects of the film). Let's start, shall we?

The Story/Screenplay:

Many key scenes are often contrived and function as bandaids to hold the plot together. Example, the dinner scene with Mr. Vinyard, from which Derek's bigotry supposedly stems, seems to read like it was written just because the writers needed to give a quick explanation to shape the protagonist's motivations. It appears that this was the first instance where the father openly expresses his hatred of Black people to Derek. Derek doesn't know his father's perspective on affirmative action until that very scene. And, apparently, this moment comes only a few days/weeks before his father's death. And, THIS single event fuels Derek's rage against EVERY person who is not White Protestant? Wow, what a sap! It wasn't as if Derek was raised for 17 years under his father's narrow minded perspective. It comes off as brainwashing, and Derek's character was too smart to be duped that easily. The scene feels like tacked-on motivation, and the movie never convincingly charts Derek's path to race hatred.

Another question that sticks with me is why does Derek repent in the first place? Derek upheld his rhetoric throughout his prison sentence. He was immersed with other skinheads but becomes disillusioned when he finds that all the major groups in prison (black, Hispanics, white) have a working agreement. The other skinheads don't uphold their supremest beliefs and even warn Derek to "cool it with the preaching bullsh-t." Derek then leaves his white faction and turns into a loner. Was it too much cooperation for him? He is subsequently raped by his fellow gang members, is lectured by his former high school teacher and befriends a Black man in the laundry. Which one of these occurrences forces him to see the errors of his ways and repents? He didn't learn that his beliefs were skewed. He lost faith in white extremism after he discovered his fellow "brothers" disregarded their former views and was subsequently raped by them. He wasn't converted when he learned that the ethnic groups worked together. It made him angrier. So, is it the rape that convinces him? It'd be like a Catholic who loses faith in Christ because he learns other Catholic church goers aren't as pious as he and is raped by these same Catholics. Derek didn't make amends with his "enemies", who BTW were gunning to shank him in prison curbed only by Lamont's plea (which brings up another point). His reboot just seems very underdeveloped and illogical.

Also, the Black gang members didn't kill Derek in prison because Lamont plead to not have him killed? Seriously?? What did Lamont say? "Don't hurt him, guys. Yes, he did spearhead the White Supremest movement in Venice Beach. Yes, he kicked us off our turf and brutally murdered 2 of our brothers. But, don't hurt him because he's my laundry buddy."

Derek gets busted for manslaughter for his second victim? Oh, please! I can see the first gangbanger killed in self defense. But, the other victim curb stomped by a renowned skinhead warrants as manslaughter?? The autopsy would reveal the victim had two gunshot wounds, indicating he was wounded and under the duress of Derek Vinyard, so anything additional would have been in malice. How would curb stomping a severely wounded intruder NOT warrant either a life or death sentence for the perpetrator who is infamously known as the leader of their area's White Supremest movement??

Derek is paroled after a MERE 3 years?? I don't think I need to address the ludicrous nature of these circumstances. It's there merely to get Derek back on the streets despite the illogical conditionality of Derek ever getting a parole.

Danny is murdered, IN SCHOOL nonetheless, for blowing smoke in the Black guy's face? Those gang members risked their asses by snuffing Danny IN school. Why not a drive-by in his neighborhood like any other "sensible" gangbanger (not saying that gangbanger's lifestyle is sensible, but their places of execution should be)? And, he's killed for blowing smoke? Moving on...

The Black gang attempt to jack Derek's truck for essentially "kicking them off the playground"?

The basketball sequence was RIDICULOUS. It was like an AND 1 commercial.

Was there really a need for the scene where Sweeney asks for Derek's help in taking down White power clan? It led nowhere, and added nothing to the story.

The Direction:

While Tony Kaye is very capable of directing actors and crafting many singular compelling scenes, his visual style and music selection feel a little too melodramatic. There wasn't really any need for the footage of the kids on the beach or Derek's slow-mo shower scenes.

Nov 23 - 08:14 PM

Daniel K.

Daniel Kearney

ok, you seem to not really have seen the movie, and/or overlooked most of the movie.
let's begin.

"Another question that sticks with me is why does Derek repent in the first place?" he repents because he sees that, through his black friend in the laundry room, that he has things in common with him, such as a love for basketball, and realizes he is a better person than his white friends, leading him to make the conclusion, "Hey, maybe minorities aren't all terrible". also, through out the story, Derek frequently brings up statistics to support his arguments, and as demonstrated by his black friend Lamont, there is biased and bigotry in the law.

"Also, the Black gang members didn't kill Derek in prison because Lamont plead to not have him killed? Seriously?? What did Lamont say? 'Don't hurt him, guys. Yes, he did spearhead the White Supremest movement in Venice Beach. Yes, he kicked us off our turf and brutally murdered 2 of our brothers. But, don't hurt him because he's my laundry buddy.'" no, lamont told them not to kill him, because by then, he had seen a genuine change. as for the fact that you think they should have killed him for killing their friends, please tell me what would happen if all of the murderers in that prison were killed. it makes no sense to murder someone, for being a murderer, when you yourself are a murderer.

"Derek gets busted for manslaughter for his second victim? Oh, please! I can see the first gangbanger killed in self defense. But, the other victim curb stomped by a renowned skinhead warrants as manslaughter?? The autopsy would reveal the victim had two gunshot wounds, indicating he was wounded and under the duress of Derek Vinyard, so anything additional would have been in malice. How would curb stomping a severely wounded intruder NOT warrant either a life or death sentence for the perpetrator who is infamously known as the leader of their area's White Supremest movement??" it clearly states in the movie that he was given man slaughter and not life because Danny didn't testify, if he had it would have been life. as for only three years in jail, welcome to the world of lawyers, think O.J. Simpson.

"Danny is murdered, IN SCHOOL nonetheless, for blowing smoke in the Black guy's face? Those gang members risked their asses by snuffing Danny IN school. Why not a drive-by in his neighborhood like any other "sensible" gangbanger (not saying that gangbanger's lifestyle is sensible, but their places of execution should be)? And, he's killed for blowing smoke? Moving on..." he wasn't killed for blowing smoke in his face, he was killed for being a ****ing skinhead you half wit. as for no drive by, tons of innocent people are killed thanks to drive bys, and I think you are missing the fact this takes place in L.A., where there are often school shootings, and the gangbangers aren't always the brightest bulbs.

"The Black gang attempt to jack Derek's truck for essentially 'kicking them off the playground'? The basketball sequence was RIDICULOUS. It was like an AND 1 commercial." If you were publicly humiliated, i don't think, to a gang member, that stealing a truck would be so far out of question. and i think you are over looking the fact that he was a racist prick to those black guy on the basketball court, another fantastic reason in the mind of a gang member to steal his truck.

I'm loosing interest in my attempt to tear down your arguments, but just try to give it another chance and try to think logically about this movie

Jan 10 - 06:12 PM

Brittney Hawkins

Brittney Hawkins

i know i'm super duper late, but the young black man had something to prove in killing Danny. He was trying to make a point, trying to make sure that his gang knew he wasn't afraid. That being said, he was desperately seeking approval, which is no different than the skinheads. These are all young, impressionable people with very few role models. I think it was genius. But that's just my opinion.

Nov 3 - 12:27 PM

Dave O.

Dave O

Many key scenes are often contrived and function as bandaids to hold the plot together. Example, the dinner scene with Mr. Vinyard, from which Derek's bigotry supposedly stems, seems to read like it was written just because the writers needed to give a quick explanation to shape the protagonist's motivations. It appears that this was the first instance where the father openly expresses his hatred of Black people to Derek. Derek doesn't know his father's perspective on affirmative action until that very scene. And, apparently, this moment comes only a few days/weeks before his father's death. And, THIS single event fuels Derek's rage against EVERY person who is not White Protestant? Wow, what a sap! It wasn't as if Derek was raised for 17 years under his father's narrow minded perspective. It comes off as brainwashing, and Derek's character was too smart to be duped that easily. The scene feels like tacked-on motivation, and the movie never convincingly charts Derek's path to race hatred.



Derek looked alot younger in the flashback where his dad was killed. You're forgetting about Camerons influence from then to the present day.

Apr 27 - 04:04 AM

Yeah Yeah

Yeah Yeah

Dude, you just completely missed the point of the movie. The story is about how easily humans are swayed which explains how Derek quickly changed his views based on his fathers, not to mention who wouldn't take up the views of their late, respected father. Its also about how forgiveness and repent do not solve all of the problems that one has caused over a lifetime, thus the name of the movie: American History X. You also have the complete wrong mindset. You can't watch a movie searching for miniscule plot holes or else you'll never enjoy a movie.

Apr 27 - 08:15 PM

Ryan T.

Ryan Thomas

Wow, you do realize, "Eduardo L", that you plagiarized several of your points from a review of this movie by Roger Ebert. The link is only a few clicks away from this page, did you think nobody would notice? People can read, you know? Why don't you try coming up with your own arguments instead of ripping off someone else's?

Jul 9 - 11:25 PM

Gazzoid

G- Force

We're the dumbasses??? what a patronising prick you are, I'm only goin to counter one of your so called insights into this film mainly because I can't be bothered to waste any more of my time than is absolutely necessary on a jumped-up wannabe internet film critic who patently can't be bothered to watch the film to get his facts right, or am I giving you too much credit and you're simply an idiot???
......the flashback to the dinner table scene between Derek and his father prior to his death was supposed to be just that, a flashback, a snapshot typical of his father's beliefs, and who knows how much of this was edited out to bring the film in at just under the 2hr mark as studios prefer because they're nearly as condescending as you and assume us all to have the attention span of a hyperactive chimp!
What sends Derek over the edge is not just his father's (immoderate at best) views but the fact that having come from his dad they were bound to be hugely influential over him, factor into the mix that his pop was also a fireman and therefore a hero to his young son, was only doing his job, fighting a fire at a crack-house in a black neighbourhood when he was senselessly gunned down by a black person whose street he was risking his life to protect and you can see how all those things that his dad used to tell him round the dinner table would all start to ring true to an emotionally devastated and very angry young man - understand now little boy??????

Sep 5 - 08:10 AM

Mac B.

Mac Berg

what's up with all these goddamn long comments?

Feb 3 - 06:32 PM

Alex M.

Alex McGuinness

Finally, Gazzoid, you have restored my faith in mankind. I was reading a few of these stupid comments hoping that someone had realised it was a film, and therefore had to use flashbacks only a few minutes long to set a scene in order to keep its runtime under 20 something years. You hit the nail on the head. Great film, unless you're a retarded movie watcher that requires everything to be spelled out in it's fullest for you to understand it's message.

Jun 26 - 06:06 PM

Benny B.

ben bastyr

You're a dick-wad, Rob.

Aug 9 - 01:37 AM

The Stunner

Tiago Paulo

the comments here are so stupid.

Dec 11 - 08:17 PM

Dilshan Gunatilleke

Dilshan Gunatilleke

This is the same guy who gave a perfect score to hancock so no i wouldn't get all up in arms about this comment. Some people thrive on being different for the sake of it

Jun 3 - 07:55 AM

Vector Hero

Sam Neely

Any person can also be just as ignorant as yourself.

Jun 10 - 10:27 PM

Mat C.

Mat Cousineau

you're right, any idiot can make us wince at the violence in this movie. the difference is that most awful action movies have a few dialogue scenes to move the story along. this dialogue heavy drama with incredible depth has a few violent scenes to move the story along. allthough the film has some gory scenes, that is not at all what this movie is about.

Jun 18 - 11:59 AM

David M.

David magunnigle

Obviously you know fuck all about great movies. You're and idiot.

Nov 2 - 02:22 AM

David M.

David magunnigle

Obviously you know fuck all about great movies. You're an idiot. xD

Nov 2 - 02:24 AM

David M.

David magunnigle

Obviously you know fuck all about great movies. You're an idiot. xD

Nov 2 - 02:24 AM

Najee N.

Najee Najee

Go eat shit you cunt

Jul 11 - 04:57 AM

Stuart Wilson

Stuart Wilson

Surprisingly any idiot can makes us wince at the ugliness of terrible reviewing!... hope you bite a curb some day

Aug 26 - 06:15 AM

David Fixman

David Fixman

What an ignorant thing to say and a totally useless rating that only served to blemish the score of a great movie that deserves a better rating than this. You have NO business reviewing movies at all. Did you watch the movie at all? What the hell is your problem!

Oct 12 - 01:49 PM

Amanda Seehoffer

Amanda Seehoffer

I myself as a young teenager can see the importance of a film such as this. It really had opened my eyes to the darkness of racism and the impact it can have on everyone's lives. You my sir should not even have this job! So don't talk about something that you can't even begin to understand.

Dec 17 - 07:45 PM

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