American History X Reviewed
Reading into this particular article could mean only one thing: that you’re looking to learn a little more about one of the most impressive films of the 1990s, “American History X”. You see, there is a good bit that you might care to learn or understand about this impressive film, and most of these will be discussed within this content.
This movie was not based on real events, as some people seem to think that it was. Though, the course that the film takes might not be all that unlike what others might have experienced in their own lives. This is a reflection about how we can be led so strongly to believe something that we later cannot believe in anymore through the introduction of circumstances beyond our control.
The movie starts rolling by introducing you to Danny Vinyard, who is still in high school. After getting in some trouble over having written a history paper on a white supremacist, he is told to write a paper on his brother Derek. Derek is Danny’s older brother and he is, for all intents and purposes, the main character of the piece.
Derek is a leader of a gang of white supremacists in the neighborhood where they live. They believe that black people are the problem with the world, and that the world might be a much better place if there were no black people. You are briefly given a reasoning for this belief, as you see Derek watch his father killed by a black drug dealer when Derek was very little. A white supremacist took Derek under his wing and brought him up with his Neo-Nazi ideals.
You learn that Derek is in jail, and see a visual depiction of what landed him there. Some black people were attempting to break into his car, when he was alerted of it and he raced outside, gun drawn. He began firing at them all, killing one and wounding another. One managed to escape. The fate of the wounded would mark one of the most graphic scenes ever depicted on film, which was Derek forcing the man to put his teeth onto the street curb and Derek stomping on the back of his head.
However, Derek is required to face his beliefs when he heads off to prison. He learns very quickly that there is no place for his beliefs, and ironically befriends a black man when they are forced to share laundry duty together. When his old history teacher visits and tells him that Danny is headed down the same path, Derek vows to change his ways for good when he gets out and move himself and his brother far away from the mess that he has made.
When he is released, he goes to find his girlfriend to ask her to move away with Danny and himself. He also confronts Cameron, the old white supremacist who encouraged Derek as a young boy. He tells them that he is through, and leaves with his brother after some trouble erupts outside. Danny finishes his paper, with the reflection that hate is baggage and it doesn’t pay to be pissed off all the time.
The movie ends with Danny being shot in the bathroom at school by a black kid. Edward Norton (Derek) and Edward Furlong (Danny) bring this powerful story to light. “American History X” is a depiction in the difference between being right and believing that you are right. It is a statement of how far some people are willing to go to prove one way or another.