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America History X

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Submitted By berryp99
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American History X is a strong and powerful movie. This controversial film was written by David McKenna and directed by Tony Faye (who is also the cinematographer) making his directors debut. With a starring cast of Edward Norton who plays an intelligent super-neo-Nazi-skinhead, named Derek Vinyard and his younger brother Danny played by Edward Furlong, who idolizes Derek and wants to follow in his footstep, but lack the intelligence like Derek. Their family also plays a role in the films storyline. Their mother who is always chronically sick, they also have a sister who Derek fights with a lot, bu. T in the end they have a powerful scene of tough family love. However, it is their father a firefighter, as well as the leader of a neo-Nazi gang who is the main reason as to why these boys are the way they were.

The film’s story is defined by racism the embracement of Nazi antics of the lives of two brothers Derek and Danny who grow up in Venice, California. Their firefighter father (who was a skinhead) was killed trying to fight a fire in a black neighborhood. This is where Derek’s life started to head down the wrong path and Derek became the leader of the neo-Nazi gang after his father. One night Derek spots two black men breaking into his car; he shoots them killing them both, and is sentenced to three years in prison leaving Danny to follow his brother’s footsteps. Derek was faced with many obstacles while in prison. The fact was no matter what race you are everyone was treated as if the same, which was not good. However, the ones who were supposedly his fellow brothers and stand by him turned to be phonies and that is when he went on his own and decides he does not want that life style any longer and wants to change. Ironically, the two people that helped guide him down the correct path were two black men. One was an old high school teacher, and the other was a fellow inmate. Who help guide him as he finished his time in prison. As soon as Derek is released from prison as a new man. He was faced with not just cultural shock but his main thing was helping his little brother and does whatever it takes to make him realize that the path he is choosing is not the right one.

Derek notices that Danny has modeled his own life to the life of what Derek once was before prison. Danny was surprised to see just how serving time in prison affected his brother. Danny learns about Derek’s life in prison and how his life has been. Danny finally understands just how hate affects they begin to remove all their neo-Nazi. However, Derek does not know that Danny had some outstanding problems that where unsolved.

Both Danny and Derek narrate the storytelling in American History X. When Derek’ narrators, it is little pieces throughout the film about his history, that is woven together with Furlong (Danny) as he narrators, since he was assigned to write a paper for school titled “American History X.” Overall, Furlong does a good job of telling the story and making the transitions between past and present smoothly. Some creative and daring storytelling that was in the movie was one scene for example. They were playing a game of blacktop basketball white vs. black. The winner would have domination of the neighbor, they present this scene as if was in an action movie with trumpeting music playing when the whites win (Blackwelder, 1998).

The dynamic of each of the character’s roles were very powerful and portrayed each character to be very believable. Derek and Danny are the two most developed characters throughout the film. Derek, who was played by Edward Norton, was outstanding in my opinion. Edward Norton as Derek played a bright kid who became the leader of neo-Nazi gang. His performance was phenomenal as an ex-neo-Nazi to a transformed compassionate family man was portrayed intensely.

The direction and the outstanding acting made American History X. With the direction of the film always moving and jumping around from past to present, time in prison Ed Norton’s performance as Derek was mind-blowing. His role as a neo-Nazi leader he had so much emotion, attitude, and power throughout the entire film and the he transfers into a compassionate family man with hair was amazing.

Director of cinematography Tony Faye gives the audience a greater impact and understanding as to what is going on through the movie. The movie was filmed in color representing the present time. He also uses a lot of black and white, which represents flashbacks of the horrible past that Derek has had. One of the first flashbacks they show at the beginning of the movie is the two black men that where trying to break into Derek’s car.

The use of color and black and white during the movie indicate the transition between the past and present. Although other cinematic movies use the same affect, in American History X the black and white sequences are used with more shadowing giving them an indistinctive edge, and dream like feeling.

Another use of cinematography is the use of slow motion. The use of slow motion helps support the purpose of the film and to form a visual mood. For example when they show Danny in the bathroom and the young black student shoots. This slow motion affect gives the viewers a feeling of greater hatred towards the black student who shot Derek because it gave the audience the time to analyze the killer and see the emotions that he expresses and the hatred that him and Danny have the moment before he shot the gun. This affect also affects the audience in their feelings towards him and then hatred towards him.

American History X sound is acknowledged Dudley’s finest film music for this time. Director Tony Kaye requested a sorrowful score of vast orchestral scope. Dudley gave the music s dynamic scope that conveys brutal force of a fluid evolving variety.

The storytelling in “American History X” is a very powerful film, which makes its storyline film very realistic. At times, some of its content makes it difficult to watch/follow. However, it is also, what gives the viewer the sense of understanding and realism.

Director Tony Kaye who was a freshman director in American History X had high expectations on their cast. Kaye also wanted his named remove from the film because of a disagreement he was having with New Line Cinema, but was not allowed. He even planned to release a documentary on “Making of American History X” previewing it at Sundance next year. Blackwelder, R. (1998). Almost X-Ceptional. In American history x. Spliced Wire.
Doug. (2011). Movie terms.

In conclusion, American History X is amazing film that I would recommend almost anyone. The acting is great, as is the direction, and storyline. An aspect of the film that I particularly enjoyed was the change from black and white to color. For each flashback, the film became black and white. There may be some reason for this that the director intended but I always assumed it was to highlight the difference between the races. I thought that they were pretending that the issues were as simple as black and white.

American History X outlines the evolution of one man and I cannot think of a better way in which this story could be told. The film also has a message for us all; as Danny (Furlong) says at the end hate are dramatic aspects of the film helps makes for an emotional story line and helps drive to many of the emotions included in the story line. The overall impact is very powerful especially at the end of Danny’s paper, and the impact it has is very powerful especially since the outcome was not what people to expect.

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