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American History X

by

Jeff Nelson

...shows the ugly truth of racism and discrimination.

American History X
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There are certain films that bring up topics that are difficult things to put on screen. American History X brings racism, discrimination, and violence to the screen. However, it's not the type of racism that audiences are used to seeing in theaters. This is how terrible racism has been. This film doesn't sugar coat anything and puts it on the screen how it is. This will certainly split audiences down the middle since it's not an easy watch and some may have to fight to get through the entire film.

A California neo-Nazi gets put into prison for murder and comes out a changed person. However, he wants to prevent his younger from following in his hate-filled footsteps. This is a subject that not many filmmakers want to approach. However, the filmmakers involved with this film do an excellent job bringing this to the big screen. The screenplay is deep, powerful, and disturbing. There isn't anything happy or fun about the film. It's very difficult to watch at times. There are characters that are very likable and easy to become connected to and others who will make the audience absolutely despise them. The dialogue is written very well. There is a lot of clever dialogue and lines that are memorable, even months after seeing the movie. I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't seen this. It's an emotional roller coaster ride that's guaranteed to affect viewers.

Accompanying the powerful script is a powerhouse of a cast. Edward Norton is absolutely stunning. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Norton delivers his role to perfection from start to finish. His character begins extremely unlikable, but overcomes a transformation. This character shows off Edward Norton's range in his acting ability and how extraordinary he is. Edward Furlong does a fine job as the younger brother. He's convincing in communicating with the rest of the cast. There isn't even one bad apple in the bunch and everybody is able to match each other's energy. Edward Norton shines above the rest, of course, but everyone does his or herr job well. Without this great cast, the film would not be nearly as powerful as it is.

Throughout the film. the style changes. It constantly changes from black and white to color. When the picture is in color, it's the present. Black and white means that the events occurring happened in the past. The editing throughout is fantastic. The way the past and present events were shown flow very well. The cinematography with close-ups and camera shots are decent. The visuals definitely are good, but there isn't much that stands out that is absolutely phenomenal. It's not an action film and accomplishes what it needs to in the visuals department.

The plot alone should tell audiences if this film is right for them or not. I'm fully aware that this movie isn't for everyone and some people can't handle the emotional impact of the film. For those who can withstand the content of the film, it's highly recommended. The film is outstanding.. The writing is tremendous, the acting is superb, and it deserves much more recognition that it has received. Even those who normally can handle films such as these may have to fight to get through this. American History X will wear you down and then show the ugly truth of racism and discrimination. Highly recommended to those who can stomach the subject.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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