Friday, November 27, 2009

American History X - Review

This is yet another, revisited movie review. I just saw this movie an hour back, thank God I skipped the De Dana Dan outing or else I would've missed watching American History X. A truly amazing movie about racism in America and how devastating it can be when the youth get misguided.

This movie is a must watch simply for the stunning screenplay, direction and for one of the best ever performances by Edward Norton. In the movie he seamlessly portrays three different versions of the same characters through flashbacks and in the present.

The transformation in his persona is so amazing - take for instance the flashback of his impressionable teen days, he actually acts and looks the age.

Then as the adult Neo-Nazi White Supremacist who goes all out in his hate based on race. The telling sequence, where he slaughters a black gang member, the look that he gives as he is being arrested - genius!

And then, once again, the transformed and repentant man who finally realizes what a wrong path he had chosen.

Special mention to the director for not being biased for or against any race while making the movie, it is not some propaganda/preachy movie. It is a brilliant showcase of what hate does to society.

A little lesson in the movie which is applicable in all intolerant situations, where misguided youngsters are driven on a path of anger and hatred by someone who rides the wave for personal benefit, is shown through a perfectly crafted scene in the movie. Derek Vinyard [Edward Norton] has his illusion of White Supremacy shattered in prison. As he lies broken on a hospital bed, his former history teacher [an African American] comes to console him. Derek still clings on to his hate philosophy though he accepts things aren't what he thought they were. That's when Prof Sweeney and Derek have this conversation:

Bob Sweeney: There was a moment... when I used to blame everything and everyone... for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn't get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
Derek Vinyard: Like what?
Bob Sweeney: Has anything you've done made your life better?


That dialogue is something applicable to every situation where one lets anger and hate take control. Brilliant scene!

The rest of the movie is just as good and it was a pity that this Oscar nominated movie didn't go on to win the Best Picture award. But something like this rarely gets made. Edward Norton carries the movie on his shoulders and well, that's it, it's a must see!

Rating - 9/10

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