#21 – American History X
Director: Tony Kaye
“People look at me and see my brother.”
Most people think this movie is just about the ugly face of racism, and I would be a moron if I said that that wasn’t a big theme in the film, but in my eyes this movie is more about misdirection, bad influences and ignorance, and with those themes intact, this film could easily have been put in any other setting of bad choice. An interesting aspect of the movie is the respect and idolism of your elder peers. Brainlessness it very often past down through the generations, and this film shows how that works very well - from father to son to brother. BUT – this movie is also about finding hope, and shows how people can break out of a chain of unhealthy narrow-minded habits, and how difficult it can be to turn your back on a problem that has become a part of you, and even worse, if you have become part of the problem… You can turn your back to a problem, but the problem doesn’t always turn its back on you. Edward Norton is totally brilliant in this movie, and he totally shows his massive talent in American History X, which actually (I think) was the first time I saw him… No wait, I think Rounders came before… And so did The People vs. Larry Flint… But anyway, this was the first time he made a real impression as a leading man in a movie (he is also totally unrecognisable in this part, with all the muscles and all… not lawyer material). Norton is convincing and his transformation from Neo-Nazi to good guy, is excellent, though sometimes can be a bit easily done, but on the other hand – when you have blinded yourself with hate, and you start seeing with real eyes for the first time, I guess it would be little things that would make you realize that the world isn’t so black and white (pun intended). Edward Furlong also gives a impressive performance as Danny, and it really is a mystery too me why this guy isn’t leading Hollywood blockbusters by now… I guess child actors just prefer to slowly fade away. The composition of the flick is also ingenious, and Tony Kaye made some very important decisions by jumping back and forward in time, revolving it around Danny’s homework assignment. An awesome, honest and brave film, that tackles some pretty heavy issues, emotions, and anger.