American History X


Time Out says

The shock opening sums up the strength and weakness of this would-be liberal drama on American neo-Nazism: after Danny (Furlong) warns elder brother Derek (Norton) of intruders, the latter rushes out and kills two black car thieves. An energetic, taut flashback sequence, shot in b/w, sets up the working class milieu, the sibling relationship, and Derek's frightening but seductive mastery, masculinity and charisma - with the high sheen visuals fetishising Norton's hard, hairless, swastika-tattooed torso along the way. Disowned by its director and reportedly re-edited by its star, the film lurches from dramatic and visual overkill to comparative inertia as it traces (in colour) Danny's development into a favoured follower of neo-Nazi leader Cameron (Keach), his run-ins with a painstakingly reformist headmaster (Brooks), and, following Derek's release from prison, his tragic rejection of his brother's rehabilitation. Two things hold the interest: Norton's astounding performance, and a feeling for the male reality of reactionary working class environments.


Release details

119 mins

Cast and crew

Tony Kaye
David McKenna
Edward Norton
Edward Furlong
Fairuza Balk
Elliott Gould
Stacy Keach
Avery Brooks
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