American History X - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American History X Reviews

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June 5, 2018
A different kind of movie. Not a movie to watch if you're bored. It's Horrible in its depiction of hate but outstanding in its portrayal of redemption.
May 27, 2018
A touching and brutal look into the Neo-Nazi mindset.

Edward Norton and Edward Furlong are fantastic as Neo-Nazis. Norton gives off such raw emotion whether he is dictating an enraged Nazi propaganda speech to skinheads, telling his family his racial ideologies, or speaking to his brother about what he's learned. Norton clearly wants to ask you: "Can Neo-Nazis reform? Can they change?" At least, he shows you how they can come into being Nazis.

American History X is so powerful. It really speaks to the troubles we face even today. American History X paints a picture of how family, income, and one's outlook can depict and nurture or twist and warp someone into a hateful being. You get the background, the formation of a hate group, the people influencing them, the people that are trying to help these Nazis, and the few that may sincerely change and wake up from their hateful slumber.

The film itself is beautifully shot, switching from black and white sequences of the past that depict how this family fell apart. Then in color and gorgeous cinematography, how Edward Norton must take his family back and try to cut ties off of the white supremacist Neo-Nazis. It's all intense and suspenseful throughout, while also has brutal depictions of a very harsh life. Check American History X out for insights into our current era of hate and racially tense times. You might just learn something about yourself or at least see how others think.
½ May 19, 2018
These films should be watched in all schools.
May 4, 2018
Excellent!!! Edward Norton shows his true acting skills in this movie!
½ April 25, 2018
After neo-Nazi Derek is imprisoned for killing two black men who were trying to steal his car he releases what a monster he one was and tries to stop his younger brother going down the same path.
The acting in this film is excellent across the board and it's easy to see why Edward Norton was nominated for an Oscar in this role. He puts in an amazingly convincing performance as Derek, this vile, hateful white supremacist. Then when the character is broken down and tries to become a better person, he shows layer upon layer of damage and vulnerability that lies underneath. Edward Furlong puts in a good performance as Danny, Derek's impressionable, younger brother who idolises Derek but is also manipulated by Cameron Alexander, played by Stacy Keach, into doing his dirty work. Beverly D'Angelo is also excellent as Doris, Derek's mother and the progression of her character from flash back to present day is well played.
This is a very brutal and sometimes difficult to watch film that explores the cycle of hatred and how racism can be spread and passed down through generations. However because it doesn't mince its words the film's message is that much more potent and impactful on the audience. The cinematography is also excellent and the use of black and white in the flash backs adds another dimension to an issue that is most certainly grey.

I would certainly recommend this film as the issues it tackles are still very relevant to this day.
½ April 9, 2018
An absolutely fascinating movie, in the vein of La Haine.

These two feel like twin movies to me, tackling these fascinating and difficult subjects in some of the most interesting ways I've seen.

I loved the structure of the story, the way it was built and peeled back layer by layer. I was hooked instantly. It could've been so much plainer if we had followed Derek's story from its conception, but having it turned into this life analysis from Danny's point of view was a very smart decision. It helped keep the movie's pace going, helped me as a viewer stay at attention. I wanted to get down to Derek's core.

Edward Norton reminded me in this performance why I love him so much as an actor. Beautiful act, very raw and honest. A lot of moments of brilliance. The only slightly awkward part for me was when he was holding Danny's dead body and bawling his eyes out. His grimace kind of looked like laughter but with the sound switched to crying. Maybe that's just how his crying face looks like, but it felt a little awkward to me. Not a big point.

Everybody else fit their role well. The mother's Jewish boyfriend acted in a surprisingly subdued way, considering the role. Sweeney's actor was fantastic. The laundry guy, Lamont, stole the show during his scenes. He did great.

Movie was shot in a pretty decent way for the most part, with some amazing moments of brilliance. The editing was a standout, the music was alright, although a bit too in your face at times. Could've been a little subtler.

It was a brilliant look into this painful twisted world, it felt honest and very human. Felt intelligent in its depiction of every side of the story.

The standout moment for me was the part where Derek walks Danny in the morning to his school. The entire sequence is just amazingly orchestrated. Tension builds and builds, you scan the background behind them to spot incoming danger, and then the camera starts narrowing down and zooming onto the faces of Derek and Danny while you're on the edge, unable to see if there's any danger. It's obvious that something will happen, but the time leading up to it is an amazing ride. I thought to myself that I wish it didn't happen, but then it wouldn't be as good of a story. So well done.

Amazing movie, highly recommended.
March 31, 2018
i watched this again and i realized that its a really good story. i loved the ending
½ March 28, 2018

Derek Vinyard is a skinhead and the leader of a white supremacist gang. After killing two black men who tried to steal his truck he is sent to prison for three years. Prison gives him a time to think about his life and when he comes out he decides to avoid the hate and prejudice of his past. He leaves the gang and attempts to live a normal life. However, his previous actions and prejudices may have influenced his younger brother.

Superb drama. A great examination of prejudice and racial hatred, the causes and effects of it, and how it shapes, and destroys, lives. Also looks at the generational impact of it.

Well written and directed with a powerful, profound ending.

Great performance by Edward Norton in the lead role. Well deserved his Best Actor Oscar nomination.
March 13, 2018
While scrolling through IMDb, I stumbled across American History X. Intrigued by the plot summary, I decided to watch the movie with high expectations. Those high expectations were shattered with the incredible acting, heart wrenching, and soul churning scenes that unfold. This movie is extraordinary in every aspect. I enjoyed every aspect of the movie and would watch it again. The ending takes a stab into the viewers emotions, showing us the untimely death of our would-be protagonist. The scene only worsens when Derek rushes to the school and finds his younger brother lying dead in the urinal. The screams, shrieks, and cries from Derek nearly brought me to tears. The journey he had undergone, though revolutionary, was not enough to save his younger brother from the fate that was already sealed from following in his path of being a Neo-Nazi.

The journey that is shown throughout the movie, switching from black and white to color, beautifully shows the outlook on life which Derek abides by, separating those who are not White Protestants from anyone else. The color change is extraordinary to convey his character transformation.

The ending, as stated before, is one of the best scenes in the movie, pulling at the heart strings of the reader. Danny's fate is sealed once he blows the puff of smoke into the face of the African American student. This fate was carried out by Danny by worshiping the actions and ideology in which his older brother, Derek, dominated.

The opening scene of the car robbery set the mood for the rest of the movie, not pulling back any punches when it came to brutality. The opening scene, however, also showed the contempt that Danny has for the final actions of Derek. Derek's murder of two African American men attempting to break into his car changed Danny forever. This change, however, is suppressed by Danny in order to be more like his brother. When Danny discovers the massive change in Derek, his frustration is let out by pushing him against a garage many times. This anger seems to be coming from the confusion Danny now faces on whether to follow his brother again or stick to what he made himself believe.

All in all, this is an amazing movie and I would recommend this to any friend.
February 17, 2018
Such an incredible sad movie. One of the best movies of all time. I highly recommend it. Great movie!
February 16, 2018
A dark comedy that tries to convey the message that racism is evil and yet does everything in it's power to make its audience a racist.
February 14, 2018
With great screenplay, American History X is one of the most serious and hair-raising films of the 90's. There are very few films, if any, that address the topic of racism in such a way. A definite must-see for anyone regardless of race.
February 7, 2018
American History X: With an impressive preformance from Edward Nortan and sharp political allegory that's as strong and relevant as it is today, American History X is an uncomfortable, coming of age masterpeice.
January 21, 2018
American History X (1998) ???
Frighteningly believable performance by Norton anchors (and single-handedly carries) this compelling drama about furious, hateful ex-prisoner now eager to keep younger brother from terrible life style he went through. A slideshow of innovative technical achievements, startling insights on lives in California, bravura acting by Edward; only flaw is eventually winding up a bit too "neat and tidy". Still a powerful and commanding presentation.
December 20, 2017
American History X is an amazing and brilliant film with a beautiful message. This is also easily Ed Norton's best performance thus far, which raises the question, why hasn't he won any Oscar yet?
December 4, 2017
The most significant scene in American History X is the one with the entire family at breakfast. The complete nuclear family structure is perfect, until the father exposes a kind of primal racism. It's all the more insidious because he introduces it as a concerned parent. The effect is reverberating. Audiences are so wrapped up in Derek's reaction that we forget Danny is listening too. The camera does a chilling thing when it turns to face Danny. It shows us that he is also consuming and internalizing his father's racism. As such, while their father's death triggered their complete transformation, it was during that breakfast that they were indoctrinated.
November 26, 2017
Edward Furlong gives his best performance here as Danny, Derek's younger brother. See Danny is following into his brothers footsteps. His teacher (Played by Avery Brooks) is tring to unbrainwash him. I might also note that Avery Brooks is very good here as well, actually the whole cast is very good. This is one the best acted movies of the 90's, snd that's saying alot. I have a hard time suggesting this movie to people though, people usually don't wanna watch a movie dealing with racism.

Especially when the main character is a white supremacist. Trust me, the movie doesn't promote racism at all, but you have watch it all the way through to see that. The message is a very strong one, so you have to be willing to see the bad stuff to get to the conclusion. I've seen American History X many times through the years, it still remains as powerful of a picture as the day I first saw it back in 2001.

If your a Norton fan, this movie is a must. It's the only movie with him that I rank higher than Fight Club and Primal Fear. Also this movie has the very famous curbing scene, don't know what curbing is? well your gonna have to watch the movie to find out. Like I said, this is a intense film but a very good one. I highly recommend it, it's one best movies of 98' and of the decade. If you love great acting or movie with a message, American History X mandatory viewing. P.S. I don't know why but I It funny this movie was released a day before my birthday (Oct. 30) American History X is a different kind of horror movie.
November 11, 2017
American History X: With an impressive preformance from Edward Nortan and sharp political allegory that's as strong and relevant as it is today, American History X is an uncomfortable, coming of age masterpeice.
October 29, 2017
Such a great movie with such an impact and the strongest acting, American History X has scenes you wont forget about and a great ending.
American History X masterfully shows the life of Derek Vinyard as a neo nazi and a changed person, through black and white. The performance that Edward Furlong gives is almost as memorable as John Connor.
Overall, this movie is a 5 star.
October 21, 2017
Structured around the two central leads, all thoughts and idea are being absorbed from them, a lot are awfully wrong but others have some real purpose behind them. They reinforce the characters plenty to get a more impactful dialogue. It all just had to lead up to that fateful finale that involves an unforeseen and yet almost far-fetched scenario. It leaves you to wonder why it really happened.
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