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American History X

9/10
Drama . Crime
 

Derek Vineyard is paroled after serving 3 years in prison for killing two thugs who tried to break into/steal his truck. Through his brother, Danny Vineyard's narration, we learn that before going to prison, Derek was a skinhead and the leader of a violent white supremacist gang that committed acts of racial crime throughout L.A. and his actions greatly influenced Danny. Reformed and fresh out of prison, Derek severs contact with the gang and becomes determined to keep Danny from going down the same violent path as he did.

 
Actors: Fairuza Balk , Elliott Gould , Guy Torry , Stacy Keach , Ethan Suplee , Jennifer Lien , Avery Brooks , Beverly D'Angelo , Edward Furlong , Edward Norton
Directors: Tony Kaye
Country: USA
Release: 1998-11-20
More Info:
  • Owen Gleiberman

    This is the sort of incendiary role a lot of actors would kill for, yet the shock of Norton's performance isn't its showboat flamboyance. It's that he makes this sadistic junior sociopath rueful and intelligent.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Janet Maslin

    An inflated yet gut-slugging film.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Jolting, superbly acted film.

    Variety Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    A series of well-drawn sketches and powerful scenes, in search of an organizing principle.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    Unflinching in its depiction of racism, anti-Semitism, violence and jailhouse politics.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Craig Marine

    Such an ambitious, well-acted film that it's easy to overlook its flaws as relatively minor.

    San Francisco Examiner Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    While this movie is sometimes overbaked, it is the first major studio release in a while to engross wall-to-wall.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    May be flawed, but it's not easily forgotten.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    It's Norton who makes the film such an enlightening experience, and he's mesmerizing.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    It's a testament to Norton's utter immersion in the role that he can even halfway connect the dots between this fundamentally sweet, brainy kid and the magnetic, white trash monster who'll haunt our minds long after the movie's liberal pieties fade into static.

    Slate Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Trenchant and visceral, American History X may not be perfect, but it's a darn sight better than good.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    The movie can't explain as much as it wants to about what makes (and unmakes) a skinhead, but it carries us a fair distance.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    A violent, sober cautionary tale, strictly middle-of-the-road when it comes to its much-ballyhooed politics and grimly obvious in its telling.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Excellent in flashes, unintentionally absurd and lead-footed at other moments, the movie stumbles under the weight of its own grandiose intentions.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Director Tony Kaye may be reaching for opera, but screenwriter David McKenna has set his sights distinctly lower.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Joshua Klein

    There may be much to like about his movie, but it's all been done before to more challenging degrees of moral ambiguity. That's a pretty fatal flaw.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • David Ansen

    This material is charged enough without piling on the melodrama and the lip-smacking violence. The movie too often sacrifices reportage for razzle-dazzle.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    It's hard to know whom to blame for the film's choppiness, its mixture of rage and sentimentality, the stridency of some of the acting.

    Time Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As a visit to a world and a way of life most of us will never experience, American History X is vivid, and it feels honest. At the very least, it's not typical.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    For all its surface verisimilitude and for all its focus on a problem that couldn't be more current, this film can't manage to feel more than sporadically real.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Andy Klein

    Fails dramatically as well as ideologically.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Norton's high-energy acting is the only element that saves the picture from being a total loss.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Gary Dauphin

    A mess of a film.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    A mousy little nothing of a picture.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Gene Siskel

    A shockingly powerful screed against racism that also manages to be so well performed and directed that it is entertaining as well. [30 October 1998, Friday, p.A]

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
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  • little brother

  • blood

  • controversy

  • reference to los angeles lakers

  • reference to the los angeles lakers

  • surprise ending

  • sodomy

  • single parent

  • narration from the grave

  • basketball

  • xenophobia

  • mother son relationship

  • ethnic slur

  • prison rape

  • anti semitism

  • widow

  • brother sister relationship

  • prison gang

  • racial slur

  • anal rape

  • affirmative action

  • literature

  • hate crime

  • gang violence

  • gang warfare

  • african american

  • gunfire

  • manslaughter

  • tattoo

  • obscene finger gesture

  • father son relationship

  • tattooed swastika

  • female nudity

  • woman on top

  • racial tension

  • racial discrimination

  • racial prejudice

  • shot to death

  • curb stomping

  • director also cinematographer

  • eldest child

  • kiss on the cheek

  • crying

  • aryan brotherhood

  • film starts with sex

  • interrupted sex

  • loud sex

  • anti semitic slur

  • crushed head

  • dysfunctional family

  • korean grocer

  • skull crushing

  • beating

  • los angeles california

  • loss of brother

  • moral ambiguity

  • principal

  • psychopath

  • racist comment

  • male on male rape

  • cult film

  • chelsea smile

  • student principal relationship

  • bare butt

  • male rear nudity

  • thong

  • title appears in writing

  • black & white to color

  • black and white and color

  • hypocrisy

  • hypocrite

  • death of brother

  • f word

  • friendship between men

  • gang rape

  • tough guy

  • boyfriend girlfriend relationship

  • family relationships

  • flashback

  • mother daughter relationship

  • voice over narration

  • blood splatter

  • bleeding anus

  • villain turns good

  • blowing smoke in someone's face

  • crying man

  • gay rape

  • boxer shorts

  • humiliation

  • juvenile delinquent

  • country name in title

  • punched in the face

  • kicked in the face

  • threats and intimidation

  • death threat

  • white power

  • family tragedy

  • threat to kill

  • incarceration

  • brutality

  • reference to james worthy

  • reference to kevin mchale

  • reference to boston celtics

  • reference to the kkk

  • three word title

  • directorial debut

  • race relations

  • men's bathroom

  • ethnic gang

  • race based hatred

  • racial intolerance

  • jewish american

  • social studies teacher

  • fireman

  • reference to cesar chavez

  • reference to martin luther king

  • reference to adolf hitler

  • news clipping

  • smoking cigarettes

  • mexican american

  • portrait of hitler

  • korean american

  • reference to abraham lincoln

  • reference to rodney king

  • prison cafeteria

  • underwear

  • camcorder

  • shot in the chest

  • laundry

  • murder in bathroom

  • iron cross

  • flash mob

  • sheet

  • overweight man

  • venice beach

  • reference to hillary clinton

  • orgasm

  • urinal

  • video tape

  • the n word

  • high school

  • car

  • store

  • store raid

  • hate

  • jellybean

  • breasts

  • rear entry sex

  • white supremacist

  • racism

  • hatred

  • neo nazi

  • bare chested male

  • male underwear

  • male full frontal nudity

  • group shower

  • prison shower

  • male pubic hair

  • pubic hair

  • los angeles

  • swastika

  • title spoken by character

  • rage and hate

  • fuck

  • brother brother relationship

  • skinhead

  • prison

  • neo nazi

  • held at gunpoint

  • disarming a person with a gun

  • anti fascism

  • death of father

  • independent film

1