American History X (1998): An Underrated Gem




Tony Kaye




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A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.


My review:


Films about race relations in America have always been a contentious and sometimes controversial matter. The bad ones do not seem to get over their superficial and simplistic dialogue, in addition to the poor acting and mediocre filmmaking. Those that have proven to be great films, however, not only do precisely the opposite, but contain enduring qualities that make them timeless classics. American History X is such a film. Boasted by an incredible lead performance from Edward Norton, as well as an impressive supporting role from Edward Furlong, this motion picture is one that deftly showcases the heaviness of such an explosive issue. Its script is intelligent, uncompromising, and daring, able to show and give all conflicting viewpoints a fair chance to present their case. Through Tony Kaye's focused lens, the viewer delves deep into the lives of two young white males, feeling their every frustration and witnessing their endless anger that lead them towards a disastrous and tragic route. Kaye also perfectly paces the motion picture, giving it sensitive dramatic sequences that are seamlessly meshed with scenes of utter violence and brutality. However, it is that unique mix that gives American History X its power. It is a film that will surely affect all those who watch it, long after the credits roll. An underrated gem that is not to be missed by anyone.


Outstanding performances:


  • Edward Norton (as Derek Vinyard)
  • Edward Furlong (as Danny Vinyard)




1 hour and 59 minutes








Crime / Drama


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