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American History X
Academy Award® Nominee
Edward Norton and Edward Furlong star in this film about the consequences of urban racism as a family is torn apart by hate. A graphic examination of extremism in America, the film follows one man's...  View more >

Starring Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Avery Brooks...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
I just got back from an advance screening at my college (U Cal, San Diego) for AMERICAN HISTORY X, and I'm still dazed. This (unlike last week's advance screening of THE WATERBOY) is an 'important movie'. It tackles the issue of race in contemporary America for a change. Usually, racism is captured on film in past incidents and cultures (such as AMISTAD and BELOVED), where the audience still has the luxury of convincing themselves that things are different now, that racism died in the past decades. AMERICAN HISTORY X pulls no punches, blatantly accusing America of racism, albiet a more subtle form.

Let me back up a moment. The film follows two skinhead brothers growing up in Venice Beach, a place immediately established as completely racially divided. The division occurs between two equally reprehensible groups: the skinheads and the gang members. It becomes difficult to side with either group, as both demonstate nothing but hatred and ignorence. A twist occurs when Edward Norton, the older brother, is sent to prison after murdering two black gang members. Once in prison, he realizes the hypocrisy of his beliefs when he is raped in the showers by his fellow skinheads. This marks the beginning of a drastic reform. Once released, he attempts to convince his little brother (Edward 'T2' Furlong) that their philosophy is wrong.

In this film, however, the plot is overshadowed by the overall examination of racism. Symbollically, the scenes in which Norton is a skinhead are filmed in black and white, whereas those after his reformation are in color. This can be credited to Tony Kaye, whose brilliant (if somewhat over-artistic) direction is the foundation of this film. It sparkled even more with the performances of Furlong, Avery Brooks (as Norton's black mentor), and Fariuza Balk (as Norton's trashy, crass girlfriend). Norton himself is the most astounding performance in this film, and I sincerely hope that he is rewarded with an Oscar nomination.

This movie will (and should) stick with you after it's over. It offers a objective, colorblind look at the horrors of racism and shows that yes, racism is NOT a thing of the past.

RATING: B+(8.5 out of 10)

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
What a movie. And I thought SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was powerful! Edward Norton deserves an Oscar for his performance as a reformed skinhead who wants to start a new life with the family he was responsible for wrecking. Eddie Furlong and Beverly D'Angelo are both riveting as Norton's misguided skinhead brother and depressed mother, respectively. I wouldn't rule either out for Oscar nominations.

I don't understand why director Tony Kaye wanted his name removed from this film. Most directors would love to take credit for such a poignant vison. He should stop whining and just pick up his Oscar next March.

This is the only movie that can (so far) challenge PRIVATE RYAN for the Best Picture Oscar. See it.

RATING: **** (out of four stars)

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
This film is so good it's scary. I want to go back and see it again! All the actors are great (especially Ed Norton) and the message the movie sends is so powerful: that hatred is colorblind and racists are ignorent hypocrites. GO SEE IT NOW. IT IS INCREDIBLE! IT IS THE GREATEST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN!

Jan 25, 2000
First of all....if one can say that they really can like a film like this, then I did....definitely not for the story line, but for the film's style and the way it was presented. This film takes a look at a small segment of our society, those who follow the warped beliefs of Nazism and Hitler, and brings it to life. This definitely wasn't Oprah or Geraldo, but a serious look into the lives of one family and how those beliefs impacted upon it. The film follows how the sons of the family developed or incorporated those beliefs as their own and how the rest of the family worked to change them or stay away from them. There are some scenes that audience members may find difficult to watch but even with your eyes closed, you still could sense that scene strongly. Should you see this film?...definitely! Can you learn from it?...maybe. It will not teach you sensitivity or help you understand how one learns to be hateful...what it does do is show you very vividly...what hate is. If you walk away from this film with anything...it is an acceptance that there is hate in our society and there are no easy ways to prevent it, change it or destroy it. That doesn't mean we should accept it...this film just brings it out in a very vivid way. Bottom line....if you have ever wanted to see a film that you might consider walking out of due to the violence of it...this is one that might just do it for you.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Food for thought. That’s AMX. If you don’t want to think, stick with Waterboy. But if you want to see one of 1998’s better movies, read on. AMX is a controversial drama with Edward Norton Jr. as a skinhead and his younger brother Edward Furlong potentially following in the footsteps that landed the older sibling in jail. The subject matter is well handled, presenting both sides of the racial lines, never becoming preachy and never politically correct or incorrect for the sake of standing on a soapbox. It’s simply well written material and well delivered by the superb Norton who actually outdoes his wonderful performance in Primal Fear that earned him an Academy Award nomination. His character undergoes a major change that I couldn’t believe at first. But then the filmmakers make me believe it. all the way up to the stunning conclusion. Excellent use of frequent black and white flashbacks and photography also, creating a movie within a movie that works very well indeed.

10-point scale rating: 8

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Hey first things first this movie is intense!

Ed Norton does deserve the nod from Oscar on this performance. with out giving away to much on this movie. Ed Norton portrays a skinhead, who is convicted of manslaugter and must spend a little time way from home based on fact he's been a bad bad man. Ed Furlong follows in his big brothers foot steps as Nazi boy II. Avery Brooks plays the mentor, in some bizarre twist of fate. What is so great about this movie is the theme of personal resposibility and how ultimatly man is
Jul 22, 2003
Edward Norton gives a powerful performance in "American History X." A moving drama about a racist who towards the end of the film had changed his way, only to have his past caught up with him. Norton is one of the best actors in the last decade who can hold a character in check. This is not an easy character to play, but Norton can play difficult roles very well. Edward Furlong plays his brother who wants to follow his footsteps. His character isn't easy either. Sitting though this movie is difficut, but well wroth it.

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