"Should be your number one choice for a video rental."
With shocking scenes, brilliant acting, and incredible dialogue, American History X is a film that is not soon forgotten. In a subtle fashion, American History X will make you think of things that you don't normally think of and will instigate good debate if you see it with the right person.Edward Norton's fine performance in this film is one element in a truly synergistic balance of a great story. Some people have attributed his performance to "carrying the picture", but that is simply not true. The story is really a character study of two brothers and the twisted society that they live in. It also shows how small minded people can get swallowed up by propaganda and cheap rhetoric.
There are some shocking scenes in the film that might make you cringe, but go ahead and eat it up. This is real life, this shit happens out there. Resist the urge to ignore the evil in our society and learn about it, try and be part of the solution. If you ignore it, you are simply being as small minded as the Neo-Nazi's showcased in the film and in our society, and you are not making a shred of difference.
This film should also make you question where racism begins and ends, when you can tell a joke, how to pay respect, why is political correctness necessary, why you should always question yourself and your motives, and as Dr. Sweeney asks in the film "Has anything you've done made your life better?".Eat it up, chew it fully and then swallow or spit. That's how you should approach all films, and in a way...life itself. That's the message that I got from American History X. Never be blind, always question, and be as open as possible. Being smart will help you, but you must also have a sense of what is fundamentally right and wrong.