American History X - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American History X Reviews

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May 20, 2017
Edward is hot. 6 stars.
April 4, 2017
This is probably one of the deepest films made in years. Edward Norton made an incredible lead performance that drives the movie well. This film can be hard to watch at times and it may not be for everyone with its intense action and violence but the overall message of the movie is well thought out and is quite moving. Even the most violent of people can change as seen by Derek when he becomes friends with a black man when he was in prison. Behind all the violence lies a great message that is pretty motivational. Its plot details how black and white people despise each other and often get in fights and even kill each other. The movie details how brothers Derek and Danny both try to turn themselves around from their harsh life. All of their friends are racist and both of them fear their friends turning on them if they try to leave their gang. The ending is tragic and it's hard to watch. It gets me every time but it's fitting. This is a really amazing film. It has a great story and a great message. All of this combines to make one of the best movies in the 90's. As long as you can get by the gore and action then this will likely be a film for you. This is a must see film for all fans of drama movies.
March 31, 2017
Edward Norton is excellent, the direction is great, and the story is poignant.
½ March 16, 2017
Part of the most provocative movie I've ever seen, American Hisroty X is a powerful, very moving and captivating film, Tony Kaye has done a fantastic job, although it wouldn't be the great film we all know if it wasn't for Edward Norton. It's really balls-to-the-walls film, not one that you everyday, but that's what makes it one of the best pics ever in cinema history. Recommended !!
½ March 12, 2017
Definitely a well done film, especially from the scary good performance of Edward Norton. Though his recovery was quick and underdeveloped, it still will be a film discussed for a while
March 3, 2017
Wow! NOT RELEVANT AT ALL TO CURRENT EVENTS, EH? You could give Norton's speech or his dad's speech de facto and the right would EAT IT UP right now. Loved the black and white segments about black and white race relations. I don't care what anyone says, but Elliott Gould sucks at acting.
February 2, 2017
It's good movie to watch
January 26, 2017
Easily one of the most powerful movies of all time. You don't have to be a critic to see that.
January 23, 2017
One of best movies that is have ever seen
January 21, 2017
Edward Norton is outstanding in this film. This film will go down as one of the greatest in history because of how powerful the message in this movie is. I have never met someone that did not like this film. Everyone should go and watch because it is truly emmontional and heartbreaking. Also very important that everybody watch this so that everyone can accept other people's opinion and not get called a rasict or a bigot just for supporting a certain presidential candidate. Hate is a viscous cycle and we can not continue to give into it.
½ January 18, 2017
I felt as if Derek's process of moving away from hate was oversimplified and could have been developed more. That being said, this is an insanely engaging and brutally honest take on race relations -- the most 2016 movie of the 20th century.
½ January 14, 2017
A very overrated tear jerker. The movie is very preachy and his and his brother's change is way too quick.
January 4, 2017
American History X Provides insight of racism, propaganda, and has Edward Norton in his greatest performance with Edward Furlong in the running. The film has also been relevant to this day
½ January 2, 2017
In 2016, I repeatedly watched legions of Americans, mostly whites, embrace and/or ignore Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric that dehumanized everyone who was not a white heterosexual man, and we rewarded him with the title of President of the United States. This tragedy reinforces the idea that Americans, and frankly humans, continue to fear what they do not understand, therefore cultivating unnecessarily harmful tension that frequently leads to conflict. This conflict makes us no different than our primitive descendants, and it undermines our potential to make the world a better place. I firmly believe American History X is a beacon of hope America needs to eventually overcome its racial divide, despite a President who will always fly the "woe is the white race" flag.

The film's backbone is unquestionably Edward Norton's performance as Derek Vinyard, a despicable and morally repugnant neo-Nazi who undergoes a believably human transformation. His unflinching and versatile performance gives credence to every line of dialogue and every action in every scene, which elevates all the performances in the film's supporting cast. As a result, I bought Vinyard's history and every interaction he has with his family, particularly his relationship with his younger brother. I firmly believe Norton's performance is so outstanding that it is among the five greatest performances of all-time.

However, Norton's performance would not have been nearly as impactful if Tony Kaye's storytelling felt like a structured narrative. Though it is not nearly as experiential as Moonlight, I became emotionally attached to the characters because I concurrently bought them as people and the complicated world they all inhabited. Whomever accuses the film of being preachy or heavy-handed is simply not recognizing that its message organically arises vicariously through its characters during their transformations, particularly the Vinyard brothers. Last, but not least, I absolutely love that there is a particular line of dialogue that suggest Derek has not gone completely to the other side of the moral spectrum, which highlights the time and understanding it takes to ultimately get there.

Last, but not least, I love that Tony Kaye chose to tint the flashback sequences black-and-white and the present sequences in color. The gimmick works tremendously because not only does it clearly illustrate what happens in the past and present, but it also illustrates how all the characters look at racism in those moments in time. Contrary to popular belief, race is unquestionably the most complicated issue that has plagued human history, yet we, especially Americans, continually try to categorically break it down into good and bad and/or right and wrong.

As much as I love this film, I have a few quibbles with it. First, there are a couple scenes that have unnecessary exposition, both dialogue and voiceover. Second, there are a few times when Kaye uses a medium close-up instead of a regular close-up to show a character's reaction, though I understand why he chose to do so. Last, there is one scene where the rhetoric could have been toned down to dramatically play up the rhetoric's impact on a certain character.

Overall, this is an emotionally riveting film that tactfully dissects race and explores how hatred undermines and eventually destroys understanding on an interpersonal, a familial and a societal level. Most importantly, it demonstrates how anyone, no matter how racially insensitive, can redeem themselves from those harmful beliefs by simply exposing themselves to different people in different cultures in an open-minded effort to understand those people and their cultural backgrounds.

This film reminded me to not give up on Donald Trump and his ardent supporters because if we give up on them, then they will have no desire to change, which will only make the world a harsher and more violent place to live.
½ December 27, 2016
You will never meet anyone who didn't like this movie.
½ December 22, 2016
Often disturbing and downright grim at times but absolutely brilliant because of it. Edward Norton is absolutely superb and gives an believable turn as a white supremacist. Let down only slightly by occasionally heavy handed cinematography (why all those shots of the sea?) and a cliché heavy script. I was going to call it utterly predictable as well but that misconception was proven very wrong.
December 21, 2016
Se me despertó la sensibilidad cuando narran su tiempo en prisión, pasada la primera hora. La evolución de su trato con el negro de las sábanas es mágica. Norton es genial hasta justo antes del final en el baño. 4/10
December 20, 2016
Una película bastante bien llevada con una cierta crítica a la sociedad estadounidense.
December 14, 2016
One of the best movies of all time, a must see!
December 12, 2016
Truly an eye-opening experience, and I emphasize the word experience. This film makes you work to get to the ending. It harms your eyes with disturbing grit of the harsh reality that is America. White supremacy: the side of the country we do not want to see and should leave behind unfortunately it is still here and eating us from the inside out and what does it do for us? Nothing. That's the kind of message this film delivers to those who can make it through it. Marked by excellent, career making performances by Ed Norton and Edward Furlong "American History X" stands alone as a modern masterpiece in film.
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